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THE WORKS OF 
GEORGE MEREDITH 



MEMORIAL EDITION 

VOLUME 

XIX 




The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924064984747 



GEORGE MEREDITH 



THE 
AMAZING MARRIAGE 




NEW YORK 
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 

1910 



,0 UNI I. I 



Copyright, 1895, 
BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 







TO MT FRIEND 

FREDERICK JAMESON 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAGE 

I. ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS .... 1 

II. MISTRESS GOSSIP TELLS OF THE ELOPEMENT OF THE 
COUNTESS OF CRESSETT WITH THE OLD BUCCA- 
NEER, AND OF CHARLES DUMP THE POSTILLION 
CONDUCTING THEM, AND OF A GREAT COUNTY 
FAMILY 14 

III. CONTINUATION OF THE INTRODUCTORY MEANDER- 

INGS OF DAME GOSSIP, TOGETHER WITH HER 

SUDDEN EXTINCTION 25 

IV. MORNING AND FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME . . 33 
V. A MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE . . 42 

VI. THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 55 

VII. THE lady's LETTER 66 

VIII. OF THE ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE YOUNG MEN 
AND THEIR CONSORTING: IN WHICH THE MALE 
READER IS REQUESTED TO BEAR IN MIND WHAT 
WILD CREATURE HE WAS IN HIS YOUTH, WHILE 
THE FEMALE SHOULD MARVEL CREDULOUSLY . 72 



viii THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAP. PAGE 

IX. CONCERNING THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE AND 
THE WORSHIP OF HER, TOGETHER WITH AN IN- 
TRODUCTION OF SOME OF HER VOTARIES . 87 
X. SMALL CAUSES 102 

XI. THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD . . . .113 

XII. Henrietta's letter treating of the great 

EVENT 125 

XIII. AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP IN BREACH OF 

THE CONVENTION 132 

XIV. A PENDANT OF THE FOREGOING .... 146 
XV. OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON . . . 149 

XVI. IN WHICH THE BRIDE FROM FOREIGN PARTS IS 

GIVEN A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND . . . 163 

XVII. RECORDS A SHADOW CONTEST CLOSE ON THE 

FOREGOING 174 

XVIII. DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY .... 183 

XIX. THE GIRL MADGE 194 

XX. STUDIES IN FOG, GOUT, AN OLD SEAMAN, A LOVELY 
SERPENT, AND THE MORAL EFFECTS THAT MAY 

COME OF A BORROWED SHIRT .... 204 
XXI. IN WHICH WE HAVE FURTHER GLIMPSES OF THE 

WONDROUS MECHANISM OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 215 

XXII. A RIGHT-MINDED GREAT LADY .... 223 

XXIII. IN DAME gossip's VEIN 229 



CONTENTS ix 

CHAP. PAGE 

XXIV. A KIDNAPPING AND NO GREAT HARM . . 243 

XXV. THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION . . . 250 

XXVI. AFTER SOME FENCING THE DAME PASSES OUR 

GUARD . 263 

XXVII. WE DESCEND INTO A STEAMER's ENGINE-ROOM 272 

XXVIII. BY CONCESSIONS TO MISTRESS GOSSIP A FURTHER 

INTRUSION IS AVERTED .... 281 

XXIX. CARINTHIA IN WALES 298 

XXX. REBECCA WYTHAN 308 

XXXI. WE HAVE AGAIN TO DEAL WITH THE EXAMPLES 

OF OUR YOUNGER MAN . . . 319 
XXXII. IN WHICH WE SEE CARINTHIA PUT IN PRACTICE 

ONE OF HER OLD FATHER'S LESSONS . . 330 

XXXIII. A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 339 

XXXIV. A SURVEY OF THE RIDE OF THE WELSH 

CAVALIERS ESCORTING THE COUNTESS OF 

FLEETWOOD TO KENTISH ESSLEMONT . . 348 

XXXV. IN WHICH CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 362 

XXXVI. BELOW THE SURFACE AND ABOVE . . . 374 



XXXVII. BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 

XXXVIII. A DIP INTO THE SPRING'S WATERS . 

XXXIX. THE RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 

XL. A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 



381 

392 
397 
409 



X THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAP. PAGE 

XLI. IN WHICH THE FATES ARE SEEN AND A CHOICE 

OF THE REFUGES FROM THEM .... 423 
XUI. THE RETARDED COURTSHIP .... 434 

XLIII. ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE . . 442 

XLIV. BETWEEN THE EARL, THE COUNTESS AND HER 

BROTHER, AND OF A SILVER CROSS . . . 457 

XLV. CONTAINS A RECORD OF WHAT WAS FEARED, WHAT 

WAS HOPED, AND WHAT HAPPENED . . 469 
XLVI. A CHAPTER OF UNDERCURRENTS AND SOME SUR- 
FACE FLASHES 481 

XLVII. THE LAST : WITH A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE 

DAME 496 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

GEORGE MEREDITH, cet. 68 . . . Frontispiece 

From a photograph taken by Mrs. Seymour Trower. 

This photograph was taken on the River Wey, at 
Weybridge, and is of peculiar interest in that the 
pastureland shown in the picture is only divided by a 
road from the meadows adjoining the farm house which 
the Author has pictured as Belthorpe Farm, the home 
of Farmer Blaize in Richard Feverel. 

THE CHALET, BOX HILL . . . Facing page 256 

From a photograph taken in 1909 by Frederick H. Evans. 

This was built by the Author on the higher ground in 
his garden at Box Hill, the left-hand window being 
that of his study, and that on the right hand of his bed- 
room. The cottage faces south-west over Dorking and 
Leith Hill. 



THE AMAZING MAERIAGE 



THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAPTER I 

ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHOKTJS 

Everybody has heard of the beautiful Countess of 
Cressett, who was one of the lights of this country at 
the time when crowned heads were running over Europe, 
crying out for charity's sake to be amused after their 
tiresome work of slaughter : and you know what a dread 
they have of moping. She was famous for her fun and 
high spirits besides her good looks, which you may judge 
of for yourself on a walk down most of our great noble- 
men's collections of pictures in England, where you 
will behold her as the goddess Diana fitting an arrow to 
a bow; and elsewhere an Amazon holding a spear; or 
a lady with dogs, in the costume of the day ; and in one 
place she is a nymph, if not Diana herself, gazing at her 
naked feet before her attendants loosen her tunic for her 
to take the bath, and her hounds are pricking their ears, 
and you see antlers of a stag behind a block of stone. She 
was a wonderful swimmer, among other things, and one 
early morning, when she was a girl, she did really swim, 
they say, across the Shannon and back to win a bet for 
her brother Lord Levellier, the colonel of cavalry, who 
left' an arm in Egypt, and changed his way of life to 
become a wizard, as the common people about his neigh- 
bourhood supposed, because he foretold the weather 



THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

and had cures for aches and pains without a doctor's 
diploma. But we know now that he was only a mathe- 
matician and astronomer, all for inventing military 
engines. The brother and sister were great friends in 
their youth, when he had his right arm to defend her 
reputation with ; and she would have done anything on 
earth to please him. 

There is a picture of her in an immense flat white 
silk hat trimmed with pale blue, like a pavilion, the 
broadest brim ever seen, and she simply sits on a chair ; 
and Venus the Queen of Beauty would have been ex- 
tinguished under that hat, I am sure; and only to look 
at Countess Fanny's eye beneath the brim she has tipped 
ever so slightly in her artfulness makes the absurd thing 
graceful and suitable. Oh ! she was a cunning one. 
But you must be on your guard against the scandal- 
mongers and collectors of anecdotes, and worst of any, 
the critic of our Galleries of Art ; for she being in almost 
all of them (the principal painters of the day were on 
their knees for the favour of a sitting), they have to 
speak of her pretty frequently, and they season their 
dish, the coxcombs do, by hinting a knowledge of her 
history. 

'Here we come to another portrait of the beautiful 
but, we.fear, naughty Countess of Cressett.' 

You are to imagine that they know everything, and 
they are so indulgent ' when they drop their blot on a 
lady's character. 

They can boast of nothing more than having read 
Nymney's Letters and Correspondence, published, for- 
tunately for him, when he was no longer to be called 
to account below for his malicious insinuations, pre- 
tending to decency in initials and dashes. That man 
was a hater of women and the clergy. He was one 
of the horrid creatures who write with a wink at you, 



ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 3 

which sets the wicked part of us on fire: I have known 
it myself, and I own it to my shame ; and if I happened 
to be ignorant of the history of Countess Fanny, I could 
not refute his wantonness. He has just the same benevo- 
lent leer for a bishop. Give me, if we are to make a 
choice, the beggar's breech for decency, I say : I like it 
vastly in preference to a Nymney, who leads you up to 
the curtain and agitates it, and bids you to retire on tiptoe. 
You cannot help being angry with the man for both 
reasons. But he is the writer society delights in, to 
show what it is composed of. A man brazen enough to 
declare that he could hold us in suspense about the 
adventures of a broomstick, with the aid of a yashmak 
and an ankle, may know the world; you had better 
not know him — that is my remark; and do not trust 
him. 

He tells the story of the Old Buccaneer in fear of 
the public, for it was general property, but of course 
he finishes with a Nymney touch: 'So the Old Buc- 
caneer is the doubloon she takes in exchange for a handful 
of silver pieces.' There is no such handful to exchange 
— not of the kind he sickeningly nudges at you. I will 
prove to you it was not Countess Fanny's naughtiness, 
though she was indeed very blamable. Women should 
walk in armour as if they were born to it ; for these cold 
sneerers will never waste their darts on cuirasses. An 
independent brave young creature, exposing herself 
thoughtlessly in her reckless innocence, is the victim for 
them. They will bring all society down on her with one 
of their explosive sly words appearing so careless, the 
cowards. I say without hesitation, her conduct with 
regard to Kirby, the Old Buccaneer, as he was called, 
however indefensible in itself, warrants her at heart an 
innocent young woman, much to be pitied. Only to 
think of her, I could sometimes drop into a chair for a 



4 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

good cry. And of him too ! and their daughter Carinthia 
Jane was the pair of them, as to that, and so was Chillon 
John, the son. 

Those critics quoting Nymney should look at the 
portrait of her in the Long Saloon of Cresset Castle, 
where she stands in blue and whitey completely dressed, 
near a table supporting a couple of holster pistols, and 
then let them ask themselves whether they would speak 
of her so if her little hand could move. 

Well, and so the tale of her swim across the Shannon 
river and back drove the young Earl of Cresset straight 
over to Ireland to propose for her, he saying, that she 
was the girl to suit his book; not allowing her time to 
think of how much he might be the man to suit hers. 
The marriage was what is called a good one: both full 
of frolic, and he wealthy and rather handsome, and she 
quite lovely and spirited. 

No wonder the whole town was very soon agog about 
the couple, until at the end of a year people began to 
talk of them separately, she going her way, and he his. 
She could not always be on the top of a coach, which 
was his throne of happiness. 

Plenty of stories are current still of his fame as a 
four-in-hand coachman. They say he once drove an 
Emperor and a King, a Prince Chancellor and a pair 
of Field Marshals, and some ladies of the day, from 
the metropolis to Richmond Hill in fifty or sixty odd 
minutes, having the ground cleared all the way by bell 
and summons, and only a donkey-cart and man, and 
a deaf old woman, to pay for; and went, as you can 
imagine, at such a tearing gallop, that those Grand 
Highnesses had to hold on for their lives and lost their 
hats along the road; and a publican at Kew exhibits 
one above his bar to the present hour. And Countess 
Fanny was up among them, they say. She was equal 



1ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 5 

to it. And some say, that was the occasion of her 
meeting the Old Buccaneer. 

She met him at Richmond in Surrey we know for 
certain. It was on Richmond Hill, where the old King 
met his Lass. They say Countess Fanny was parading 
the hill to behold the splendid view, always admired 
so much by foreigners, with their Achs and Hechs ! 
and surrounded by her crowned courtiers in frogged 
uniforms and moustachioed like sea-horses, a little 
before dinner time, when Kirby passed her, and the 
Emperor made a remark on him, for Kirby was a magnif- 
icent figure of a man, and used to be compared to a three- 
decker entering harbour after a victory. He stood 
six feet four, and was broad-shouldered and deep-chested 
to match, and walked like a king who has humbled his 
enemy. You have seen, big dogs. And so Countess 
Fanny looked round. Kirby was doing the same. But 
he had turned right about, and appeared transfixed 
and like a royal beast angry with his wound. If ever 
there was love at first sight, and a dreadful love, like 
a runaway mail-coach in a storm of wind and lightning 
at black midnight by the banks of a flooded river, which 
was formerly our comparison for terrible situations, it 
was when those two met. 

And, what ! you exclaim. Buccaneer Kirby full 
sixty-five, and Countess Fanny no more than three 
and twenty, a young beauty of the world of fashion, 
courted by the highest, and she in love with him ! Go 
and gaze at one of our big ships coming out of an engage- 
ment home with all her flags flying and her crew manning 
the yards. That wUl give you an idea of a young woman's 
feelings for an old warrior never beaten down an inch by 
anything he had to endure; matching him, I dare say, 
in her woman's heart, with the Mighty Highnesses who 
had only smelt the outside edge of battle. She did rarely 



6 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

admire a valiant man. Old as Methuselah, he would 
have made her kneel to him. She was all heart for a real 
hero. 

The story goes, that Countess Fanny sent her hus- 
band to Captain Kirby, at the emperor's request, to 
inquire his name; and on hearing it, she struck her 
hands on her bosom, telling his Majesty he saw there 
the bravest man in the king's dominions; which the 
emperor scarce crediting, and observing that the man 
must be, then, a superhuman being to be so distinguished 
in a nation of the brave. Countess Fanny related the 
well-known tale of Captain Kirby and the shipful of 
mutineers ; and how when not a man of them stood 
by him, and he in the service of the first insurgent State 
of Spanish America, to save his ship from being taken 
over to the enemy, he blew her up, fifteen miles from 
land : and so he got to shore swimming and floating 
alternately, and was called Old Sky-high by English 
sailors, any number of whom could always be had to 
sail under Buccaneer Kirby. He fought on shore as 
well; and once he came down from the tops of the 
Andes with a black beard turned white, and went into 
action with the title of Kirby' s Ghost. 

But his heart was on salt water; he was never so 
much at home as in a ship foundering or splitting into 
the clouds. We are told that he never forgave the. 
Admiralty for striking him off the list of English naval 
captains : which is no doubt why in his old age he nursed 
a grudge against his country. 

Ours, I am sure, was the loss ; and many have thought 
so since. He was a mechanician, a master of stratagems, 
and would say, that brains will beat Grim Death if we 
have enough of them. He was a standing example of 
the lessons of his own Maxims foe Men, a very curious 
book, that fetches a rare price now wherever a copy is 



ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 7 

put up for auction. I shudder at them as if they were 
muzzles of firearms pointed at me; but they were not 
addressed to my sex; and still they give me an interest 
in the writer who would declare, that 'he had never 
failed in an undertaking without stripping bare to expose 
to himself where he had been wanting in Intention and 
Determination.' 

There you may see a truly terrible man. 

So the emperor being immensely taken with Kirby's 
method of preserving discipline on board ship, because 
(as we say to the madman. Your strait-waistcoat is my 
easy-chair) monarchs have a great love of discipline, 
he begged Countess Fanny's permission that he might 
invite Captain Kirby to his table; and Countess Fanny 
(she had the name from the ballad : 

'I am the star of Prince and Czar, 

My light is shed on many, 
But I wait here till my bold Buccaneer 
Makes prize of Countess Fanny' : — 

for the popular imagination was extraordinarily roused 
by the elopement, and there were songs and ballads 
out of number), Countess Fanny despatched her hus- 
band to Captain Kirby again, meaning no harm, though 
the poor man is laughed at in the songs for going twice 
upon his mission. 

None of the mighty people repented of having the 
Old Buccaneer — for that night, at all events. He sat 
in the midst of them, you may believe, like the lord of 
that table, with his great white beard and hair — not 
a lock of it shed — and his bronze lion-face, and a resolute 
but a merry eye that he had. He was no deep drinker 
of wine, but when he did drink, and the wine cham- 
pagne, he drank to show his disdain of its powers; 
and the emperor wishing for a narrative of some of his 



8 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

exploits, particularly the blowing up of his ship, Kirby 
paid his Majesty the compliment of giving it him as 
baldly as an oflBicial report to the Admiralty. So dis- 
engaged and calm was he, with his bottles of champagne 
in him, where another would have been sparkling and 
laying on the colours, that he was then and there offered 
Admiral's rank in the Imperial navy; and the Old 
Buccaneer, like a courtier of our best days, bows to 
Countess Fanny, and asks her, if he is a free man to 
go: and. No, says she, we cannot spare you! And 
there was a pretty wrangle between Countess Fanny 
and the emperor, each pulling at the Old Buccaneer to 
have possession of him. 

He was rarely out of her sight after their first meet- 
ing, and the ridiculous excuse she gave to her husband's 
family was, she feared he would be kidnapped and made 
a Cossack of ! And young Lord Cressett, her husband, 
began to grumble concerning her intimacy with a man 
old enough to be her grandfather. As if the age were 
the injury! He seemed to think it so, and vowed he 
would shoot the old depredator dead, if he found him 
on the grounds of Cressett: 'like vermin,' he said, and 
it was considered that he had the right, and no jury 
would have convicted him. You know what those days 
were. 

He had his opportunity one moonlight night, not far 
from the castle, and peppered Kirby with shot from a 
fowling-piece at, some say, five paces' distance, if not 
point-blank. 

But Kirby had a maxim. Steady shakes them, and he 
acted on it to receive his enemy's fire; and the young 
lord's hand shook, and the Old Buccaneer stood out of 
the smoke not much injured, except in the coat-collar, 
with a pistol cocked in his hand, and he said : — 

'Many would take that for a declaration of war, but 



ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 9 

I know it 's only your lordship's diplomacy' ; and then 
he let loose to his mad fun, astounding Lord Cressett 
and his gamekeeper, and vowed, as the young lord 
tried to relate subsequently, as well as he could recollect 
the words — here I have it in print : — ' that he was a man 
pickled in saltpetre when an infant, like Achilles, and 
proof against powder and shot not marked with cross and 
key, and fetched up from the square magazine in the central 
d&pot of the infernal factory, third turning to the right off 
the grand arcade in Kingdom-come, where the night-porter 
has to wear wet petticoats, like a Highland chief, to mxike 
short work of the sparks flying about, otherwise this world 
and many another would not have to wait long for com- 
bustion.' 

Kirby had the wildest way of talking when he was 
not issuing orders under fire, best understood by sailors. 
I give it you as it stands here printed. I do not pro- 
fess to understand. 

So Lord Cressett said: 'Diplomacy and infernal 
factories be hanged ! Have your shot at me ; it 's 
only fair.' And Kirby discharged his pistol at the top 
twigs of an old oak tree, and called the young lord a 
Briton, and proposed to take him in hand and make 
a man of him, as nigh worthy of his wife as any one 
not an Alexander of Macedon could be. 

So they became friendly, and the young lord con- 
fessed it was his family that had urged him to the at- 
tack; and Kirby abode at the castle, and all three 
were happy, in perfect honour, I am convinced: but 
such was not the opinion of the Cressetts and Levelliers. 
Down they trooped to Cressett Castle with a rush and 
a roar, crying on the disgrace of an old desperado like 
Kirby living there; Dukes, Marchionesses, Cabinet 
Ministers, leaders of fashion, and fire-eating colonels of 
ii^e King's body-guard, one of whom Captain John 



10 . THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Peter Kirby laid on his heels at ten paces on an April 
morning, when the duel was fought, as early as the 
blessed heavens had given them light to see to do it. 
Such days those were ! 

There was talk of shutting up the infatuated lady. If 
not incarcerated, she was rigidly watched. The earl 
her husband fell altogether to drinking and coaching, 
and other things. The ballad makes her say : — 

'My family my gaolers be, 
My husband is a zany ; 
Naught see I clear save my bold Buccaneer 
To rescue Countess Fanny!' 

and it goes on : — 

'0 little lass, at play on the grass, 

Come earn a silver penny. 
And you 'II be dear to my bold Buccaneer 
For news of hi^ Countess Fanny.' 

In spite of her bravery, that poor woman suffered ! 

We used to learn by heart the ballads and songs upon 
famous events in those old days when poetry was wor- 
shipped. 

But Captain Kirby gave provocation enough to both 
families when he went among the taverns and clubs, 
and vowed before Providence over his big fist that they 
should rue their interference, and he would carry off 
the lady on a day he named; he named the hour as 
well, they say, and that was midnight of the month of 
June. The Levelliers and Cressetts foamed at the mouth 
in speaking of him, so enraged they were on account of 
his age and his passion for a young woman. As to 
blood, the Kirbys of Lincolnshire were quite equal to 
the Cressetts of Warwick. The Old Buccaneer seems 
to have had money too. But you can see what her 



ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 11 

people had to complain of: his insolent contempt of 
them was unexampled. And their tyranny had roused 
my lady's high spirit not a bit less, and she said right 
out: 'When he comes, I am ready and wUl go with 
him.' 

There was boldness for you on both sides ! All the 
town was laughing and betting on the event of the 
night in June: and the odds were in favour of Kirby; 
for though Lord Cressett was quite the popular young 
English nobleman, being a capital whip and. free of his 
coin, in those days men who had smelt powder were 
often prized above titles, and the feeling, out of society, 
was very strong for Kirby, even previous to the fight on 
the heath. And the age of the indomitable adventurer 
must have contributed to his popularity. He was the 
hero of every song. 

"'What 's age to me!" cries Kirby ; 
" Why, young and fresh let her be, 
But it 's mighty better reasoned 
For a man to be well seasoned. 
And a man she has in me," cries Kirby.' 

As to his exact age : — 

'"Write me down sixty-three," cries Kirby.' 

I have always maintained that it was an understate- 
ment. We must remember, it was not Kirby speaking, 
but the song-writer. Kirby would not, in my opinion, 
have numbered years he was proud of below their due 
quantity. He was more, if he died at ninety-one; and 
Chillon Switzer John Kirby, born eleven months after 
the elopement, was, we know, twenty-three years old 
when the old man gave up the ghost and bequeathed 
him little besides a law-suit with the Austrian Govern- 
ment, and the care of Carinthia Jane, the second child 



12 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of this extraordinary union; both children bom in 
wedlock, as you will hear. Sixty-three, or sixty-seven, 
near upon seventy, when most men are reaping and 
stacking their sins with groans and weak knees, Kirby 
was a match for his juniors, which they discovered. 

Captain John Peter Avason Kirby, son of a Lincoln- 
shire squire of an ancient stock, was proud of his blood, 
and claimed descent from a chief of the Danish rovers. 

'"What 's rank to me!" cries Kirby ; 
"A titled lass let her he, 

But unless my flans miscarry, 

I 'II show her when we marry. 

As brave a pedigree," cries Kirby.' 

That was the song-writer's answer to the charge that 
the countess had stooped to a degrading alliance. 

John Peter was fourth of a family of seven children, 
all males, and hard at the bottle early in life: 'for 
want of proper occupation,' he says in his Memoirs, and 
applauds his brother Stanson, the clergyman, for being 
ahead of him in renouncing strong drinks, because he 
found that he 'cursed better upon water.' Water, how- 
ever, helped Stanson Kirby to outlive his brothers and 
inherit the Lincolnshire property, and at the period of 
the great scandal in London he was palsied, and waited 
on by his grandson and heir Ralph Thorkill Kirby, the 
hero of an adventure celebrated in our Law courts and 
on the English stage; for he took possession of his 
coachman's wife, and was accused of compassing the 
death of the husband. He was not hanged for it, so 
we are bound to think him not guilty. 

The stage-piece is called Saturday Night, and it had 
an astonishing run, but is only remembered now for the 
song of 'Saturday,' sung by the poor coachman and 
labourers at the village ale-house before he starts to 



ENTER DAME GOSSIP AS CHORUS 13 

capture his wife from the clutches of her seducer and 
meets his fate. Never was there a more popular song: 
you heard it everywhere. I recollect one verse : — 

'0 Saturday money is slippery metal. 

And Saturday ale it is tipsy stuff : 

At home the old woman is boiling her kettle, 

She thinks we don't know when we 've tippled enough. 

We drink, and of never a man are we jealous. 

And never a man against us will he speak : 

For who can he hard on a set of poor fellows 

Who only see Saturday once a week !' 

You chorus the last two lines. 

That was the very song the unfortunate coachman of 
Kirby Hall joined in singing before he went out to face 
his end for the woman he loved. He believed in her 
virtue to the very last. 

' The ravished wife of my bosom,' he calls her all through 
the latter half of the play. It is a real tragedy. The 
songs of that day have lost their effect now, I suppose. 
They will ever remain pathetic to me; and to hear the 
poor coachman William Martin invoking the name of 
his dear stolen wife Elizabeth, jug in hand, so tearfully, 
while he joins the song of Saturday, was a most moving 
thing. You saw nothing but handkerchiefs out all over 
the theatre. What it is that has gone from our drama, 
I cannot tell : I am never affected now as I was then ; 
and people in a low station of life could affect me then, 
without being flung at me, for I dislike an entire dish 
of them, I own. We were simpler in our habits and ways 
of thinking. Elizabeth Martin, according to report, was 
a woman to make better men than Ralph Thorkill act 
evilly — as to good looks, I mean. She was not entirely 
guiltless, I am afraid; though in the last scene, Mrs. 
Kempson, who played the part (as, alas, she could do to 



14 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the very life !), so threw herself into the pathos of it that 
there were few to hold out against her, and we felt that 
Elizabeth had been misled. So much for morality in 
those days ! 
And now for the elopement. 



CHAPTER II 

MISTRESS GOSSIP TELLS OF THE ELOPEMENT OF THE 
COUNTESS OP CRESSETT WITH THE OLD BUCCANEER, 
AND OF CHARLES DUMP THE POSTILLION CONDUCTING 
THEM, AND OF A GREAT COUNTY FAMILY 

The twenty-first of June was the day appointed by 
Captain Kirby to carry off Countess Fanny, and the 
time midnight : and ten minutes to the stroke of twelve. 
Countess Fanny, as if she scorned to conceal that she 
was in a conspiracy with her grey-haired lover, notwith- 
standing that she was watched and guarded, left the 
Marchioness of Arpington's ball-room and was escorted 
downstairs by her brother Lord Levellier, sworn to baffle 
Kirby. Present with him in the street and witness to 
the shutting of the carriage-door on Countess Fanny, 
were brother officers of his. General Abrahe, Colonel 
Jack Potts, and Sir Upton Tomber. 

The door fast shut. Countess Fanny kissed her hand 
to them and drew up the window, seeming merry, and 
as they had expected indignation and perhaps resist- 
ance, for she could be a spitfire in a temper and had no 
fear whatever of firearms, they were glad to have her 
safe on such good terms ; and so General Abrane jumped 
up on the box beside the coachman, Jack Potts jumped 
up between the footmen, and Sir Upton Tomber and the 



THE ELOPEMENT 15 

one-armed lord, as soon as the carriage was disengaged 
from the ruck two deep, walked on each side of it in the 
road all the way to Lord Cressett's town house. No one 
thought of asking where that silly young man was — 
probably under some table. 

Their numbers were swelled by quite a host going 
along, for heavy bets were on the affair, dozens having 
backed Kirby; and it must have appeared serious to 
them, with the lady in custody, and constables on the 
look-out, and Kirby and his men nowhere in sight. 
They expected an onslaught at some point of the pro- 
cession, and it may be believed they wished it, if only 
that they might see something for their money. A 
beautiful bright moonlight night it happened to be. 
Arm in arm among them were Lord Pitscrew and Russett, 
Earl of Fleetwood, a great friend of Kirby's; for it 
was a device of the Old Buccaneer's that helped the earl 
to win the great Welsh heiress who made him, even 
before he took to hoarding and buying, one of the 
wealthiest noblemen in England;, but she was crazed 
by her marriage or the wild scenes leading to it; she 
never presented herself in society. She would sit on the 
top of Estlemont towers — as they formerly spelt it — 
all day and half the night in midwinter, often, looking 
for the mountains down in her native West country, 
covered with an old white flannel cloak, and on her 
head a tall hat of her Welsh women-folk; and she died 
of it, leaving a son in her likeness, of whom you will 
hear. Lord Fleetwood had lost none of his faith in 
Kirby, and went on booking bets giving him huge odds, 
thousands ! 

He accepted fifty to one when the carriage came to 
a stop at the steps of Lord Cressett's mansion; but he 
was anxious, and well he might be, seeing Countess 
Fanny alight and pass up between two lines of gentlemen 



16 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

all bowing low before her: not a sign of the Old 
Buccaneer anywhere to right or left ! Heads were on 
the look out, and vows offered up for his appearance. 

She was at the door and about to enter the house. 
Then it was, that with a shout of the name of some 
dreadful heathen god, Colonel Jack Potts roared out, 
'She 's half a foot short o' the mark !' 

He was on the pavement, and it seems he measured 
her as she slipped by him, and one thing and another 
caused him to smell a cheat; and General Abrane, 
standing beside her near the door, cried: 'Where art 
flying now, Jack?' But Jack Potts grew more positive 
and bellowed, 'Peel her wig ! we 're done !' 

And she did not speak a word, but stood huddled-up 
and hooded; and Lord Levellier caught her up by the 
arm as she was trying a dash into the hall, and Sir Upton 
Tomber plucked at her veil and raised it, and whistled : 
'Phew!' — which struck the rabble below with awe 
of the cunning of the Old Buccaneer; and there was no 
need for them to hear General Abrane say : ' Right ! 
Jack, we 've a dead one in hand,' or Jack Potts reply : 
' It 's ten thousand pounds clean winged away from 
my pocket, like a string of wild geese !' 

The excitement of the varletry in the square, they 
say, was fearful to hear. So the principal noblemen 
and gentlemen concerned thought it prudent to hurry 
the young woman into the house and bar the door; 
and there she was very soon stripped of veil and blonde 
false wig with long curls, the whole framing of her artificial 
resemblance to Countess Fanny, and she proved to be a 
good-looking foreign maid, a dark one, powdered, trem- 
bling very much, but not so frightened upon hearing 
that her penalty for the share she had taken in the 
horrid imposture practised upon them was to receive 
and return a salute from each of the gentlemen in rotation ; 



THE ELOPEMENT 17 

which the hussy did with proper submission; and Jack 
Potts remarked, that ' it was an honest buss, but dear at 
ten thousand !' 

When you have been the victim of a deceit, the ex- 
planation of the simplicity of the trick turns all the 
wonder upon yourself, you know, and the backers of 
the Old Buccaneer and the wagerers against him crowed 
and groaned in chorus at the maid's narrative of how 
the moment Countess Fanny had thrown up the window 
of her carriage, she sprang out to a carriage on the off 
side, containing Kirby, and how she, this little French 
jade, sprang in to take her place. One snap of the 
fingers and the transformation was accomplished. So 
for another kiss all round they let her go free, and she 
sat at the supper-table prepared for Countess Fanny 
and the party by order of Lord Levellier, and amused 
the gentlemen with stories of the ladies she had served, 
English and foreign. And that is how men are taught 
to think they know our sex and may despise it ! I could 
preach them a lesson. Those men might as well not 
believe in the steadfastness of the very stars because 
one or two are reported lost out of the firmament, and 
now and then we behold a whole shower of fragments 
descending. The truth is, they have taken a stain from 
the life they lead, and are troubled puddles, incapable 
of clear reflection. To listen to the tattle of a chatting 
little slut, and condemn the whole sex upon her testi- 
mony, is a nice idea of justice. Many of the gentlemen 
present became notorious as woman-scorners, whether 
owing to Countess Fanny or other things. Lord Levellier 
was, and Lord Fleetwood, the wicked man ! And 
certainly the hearing of naughty stories of us by the 
light of a grievous and vexatious instance of our mis- 
conduct must produce an impression. Countess Fanny's 
desperate passion for a man of the age of Kirby struck 



18 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

them as out of nature. They talked of it as if they could 
have pardoned her a younger lover. 

All that Lord Cressett said, on the announcement of 
the flight of his wife, was : 'Ah ! Fan ! she never would 
run in my ribbons.' 

He positively declined to persue. Lord Levellier 
would not attempt to follow her up without him, as it 
would have cost money, and he wanted all that he could 
spare for his telescopes and experiments. Who, then, 
was the gentleman who stopped the chariot, with his 
three mounted attendants, on the road to the sea, on the 
heath by the great Punch-Bowl? 

That has been the question for now longer than half 
a century, in fact approaching seventy mortal years. 
No one has ever been able to say for certain. 

It occurred at six o'clock on the summer morning. 
Countess Fanny must have known him, and not once 
did she open her mouth to breathe his name.. Yet she 
had no objection to talk of the adventure and how 
Simon Fettle, Captain Kirby's old ship's steward in 
South America, seeing horsemen stationed on the ascent 
of the high road bordering the Bowl, which is miles 
round and deep, made the postillion cease jogging, and 
sang out to his master for orders, and Kirby sang back 
to him to look to his priming, and then the postillion 
was bidden proceed, and he did not like it, but he had 
to deal with pistols behind, where men feel weak, and 
he went bobbing on the saddle in dejection, as if upon 
his very heart he jogged; and soon the fray commenced. 
There was very little parleying between determined men. 

Simon Fettle was a plain kindly creature without a 
thought of malice, who kept his master's accounts. He 
fired the first shot at the foremost man, as he related 
in after days, 'to reduce the odds.' Kirby said to 
Countess Fanny, just to comfort her, never so much as 



THE ELOPEMENT 19 

imagining she would be afraid, 'The worst will be a 
bloody shirt for Simon to mangle,' for they had been 
arranging to live cheaply in a cottage on the Continent, 
and Simon Fettle to do the washing. She could not 
help laughing outright. But when the Old Buccaneer 
was down striding in the battle, she took a pistol and 
descended likewise; and she used it, too, and loaded 
again. 

She had not to use it a second time. Kirby pulled 
the gentleman off his horse, wounded in the thigh, and 
while dragging him to Countess Fanny to crave her 
pardon, a shot intended for Kirby hit the poor gentle- 
man in the breast, and Kirby stretched him at his length, 
and Simon and he disarmed the servant who had fired. 
One was insensible, one flying, and those two on the 
ground. All in broad daylight; but so lonely is that 
spot, nothing might have been heard of it, if at the end 
of the week the postillion who had been bribed and 
threatened with terrible threats to keep his tongue from 
wagging, had not begun to talk. So the scene of the 
encounter was examined, and on one spot, carefully 
earthed over, blood-marks were discovered in the green 
sand. People in the huts on the hill-top, a quarter of a 
mile distant, spoke of having heard sounds of firing while 
they were at breakfast, and a little boy named Tommy 
Wedger said he saw a dead body go by in an open coach 
that morning, all bloody and mournful. He had to appear 
before the magistrates, crying terribly, but did not know 
the nature of an oath, and was dismissed. Time came 
when the boy learned to swear, and he did, and that 
he had seen a beautifiil lady firing and kUling men like 
pigeons and partridges; but that was after Charles 
Dump, the postillion, had been telling the story. 

Those who credited Charles Dump's veracity speculated 
on dozens of great noblemen and gentlemen known to be 



20 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

dying in love with Countess Fanny. And this brings us 
to another family. 

I do not say I know anything; I do but lay before 
you the evidence we have to fix suspicion upon a notorious 
character, perfectly capable of trying to thwart a man 
like Kirby, and with good reason to try, if she had be- 
witched him to a consuming passion, as we are told. 

About eleven miles distant, as the crow flies and a 
bold huntsman will ride in that heath country, from 
the Punch-Bowl, right across the mounds and the broad 
water, lies the estate of the Fakenhams, who intermarried 
with the Coplestones of the iron mines, and were the 
wealthiest of the old county families until Curtis Faken- 
ham entered upon his inheritance. Money with him was 
like the farm-wife's dish of grain she tosses in showers 
to her fowls. He was more than what you call a lady- 
kOler, he was a woman-eater. His pride was in it as 
well as his taste, and when men are like that, indeed they 
are devourers ! 

Curtis was the elder brother of Commodore Baldwin 
Fakenham, whose offspring, like his own, were so strangely 
mixed up with Captain Kirby's children by Countess 
Fanny, as you will hear. And these two brothers were 
sons of Geoffrey Fakenham, celebrated for his devotion 
to the French Countess Jules d'Andreuze, or some 
such name, a courtly gentleman, who turned Papist on 
his death-bed in France, in Brittany somewhere, not to 
be separated from her in the next world, as he solemnly 
left word ; wickedly, many think. 

To show the oddness of things and how opposite to 
one another brothers may be, his elder, the uncle of 
Curtis and Baldwin, was the renowned old Admiral 
Fakenham, better known along our sea-coasts and ports 
among sailors as 'Old Showery,' because of a remark he 
once made to his flag-captain, when cannon-balls were 



THE ELOPEMENT 21 

coming thick on them in a hard-fought action. 'Hot 
work, sir,' his captain said. 'Showery,' rephed the 
admiral, as his cocked-hat was knocked off by the wind 
of a cannon-ball. He lost both legs before the war was 
over, and said merrily, 'Stumps for life!' while they 
were carrying him below to the cockpit. In my girl- 
hood the boys were always bringing home anecdotes of 
old Admiral Showery: not all of them true ones, per- 
haps, but they fitted him. He was a rough seaman, 
fond, as they say, of his glass and his girl, and utterly 
despising his brother Geoffrey for the airs he gave him- 
self, and crawling on his knees to a female Parleyvoo; 
and when Geoffrey died, the admiral drank to his rest 
in the grave : ' There 's to my brother Jeff,' he said, and 
flinging away the dregs of his glass : ' There 's to the 
Frog !' and flinging away the glass to shivers : ' There 's 
to the Turncoat!' 

He salted his language in a manner I cannot repeat; 
no epithet ever stood by itself. When I was young the 
boys relished these dreadful words because they seemed 
to smell of tar and battle-smoke, when every English 
boy was for being a sailor and daring the Black Gentle- 
man below. In all truth, the bad words came from 
him; though an excellent scholar has assured me they 
should be taken for aspirates, and mean no harm; and 
so it may be, but heartily do I rejoice that aspirates 
have been dropped by people of birth; for you might 
once hear titled ladies guilty of them in polite society, 
I do assure you. 

We have greatly improved in that respect. They say 
the admiral's reputation as a British sailor of the old 
school made him, rather his name, a great favourite 
at Court; but to Court he could not be got to go, and 
if the tale be true, their Majesties paid him a visit on 
board his ship, in harbour one day, and sailors tell you 



22 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

that Old Showery gave his liege lord and lady a common 
dish of boiled beef with carrots and turnips, and a plain 
dumpling, for their dinner, with ale and port wine, the 
merit of which he swore to; and he became so elate, 
that after the cloth was removed, he danced them a 
hornpipe on his pair of wooden legs, whistling his tune, 
and holding his full tumbler of hot grog in his hand 
all the whUe, without so much as the spilling of a drop ! 
— so earnest was he in everything he did. They say 
his limit was two bottles of port wine at a sitting, with 
his glass of hot grog to follow, and not a soul could 
induce him to go beyond that. In addition to being a 
great seaman, he was a very religious man and a stout 
churchman. 

Well, now, the Curtis Fakenham of Captain Kirby's 
day had a good deal of his uncle as well as his father in 
him, the spirit of one and the outside of the other; 
and, favoured or not, he had been distinguished among 
Countess Fanny's adorers : she certainly chose to be 
silent about the name of the assailant. And it has 
been attested on oath that two days and a night subse- 
quent to the date furnished by Charles Dump, Curtis 
Fakenham was brought to his house, HoUis Grange, 
lame of a leg, with a shot in his breast, that he carried 
to the family vault; and his head gamekeeper, John 
Wiltshire, a resolute fellow, was missing from that hour. 
Some said they had a quarrel, and Curtis was wounded 
and John Wiltshire killed. Curtis was known to have 
been extremely attached to the man. Yet when Wilt- 
shire was inquired for, he let fall a word of 'having more 
of Wiltshire than was agreeable to Hampshire' — his 
county. People asked what that meant. Yet, accord- 
ing to the tale, it was the surviving servant, by whom 
he, or whoever it may have been, was accidentally shot. 

We are in a perfect tangle. On the other hand, it 



THE ELOPEMENT 23 

was never denied that Curtis and John Wiltshire were 
in London together at the time of Countess Fanny's 
flight: and Curtis Fakenham was one of the procession 
of armed gentleman conducting her in her carriage, as 
they supposed; and he was known to have started off, 
on the discovery of the cheat, with horrible impreca- 
tions against Frenchwomen. It became known, too, 
that horses of his were standing saddled in his inn- 
yard at midnight. And more, Charles Dump the postillion 
was taken secretly to set eyes on him as they wheeled 
him in his garden-walk, and he vowed it was the identical 
gentleman. But this coming by and by to the ear of 
Curtis, he had Charles Dump fetched over to confront 
him; and then the man made oath that he had never 
seen Mr. Curtis Fakenham anywhere but there, in his 
own house at HoUis ! One does not really know what 
to think of it. 

This postillion made a small fortune. He was every- 
where in request. People were never tired of asking 
him how he behaved while the fight was going on, and 
he always answered that he sat as close to his horse as 
he could, and did not dream of dismounting; for, he 
said, 'he was a figure on a horse, and naught when off 
it.' His repetition of the story, with some adornments, 
and that same remark, made him the popular man 
of the county; people said he might enter Parliament, 
and I think at one time it was possible. But a great 
success is full of temptations. After being hired at 
inns to fill them with his account of the battle, and 
tipped by travellers from London to show the spot, 
he set up for himself as innkeeper, and would have 
flourished, only he had contracted habits on his rounds, 
and he fell to contradicting himself, so that he came to 
be called Lying Charley; and the people of the country 
sai^ it was 'he who drained the Punch-Bowl, for though 



24 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he helped to put the capital into it, he took all the interest 
out of it.' 

Yet we have the doctor of the village of Ipley, Dr. 
Cawthorne, a noted botanist, assuring us of the absolute 
credibility of Charles Dump, whom he attended in the 
poor creature's last illness, when Charles Dump con- 
fessed he had lived in mortal terror of Squire Curtis, 
and had got the trick of lying, through fear of telling 
the truth. Hence his ruin. 

So he died delirious and contrite. Cawthorne, the 
great Turf man, inherited a portrait of him from his 
father the doctor. It was often the occasion of the 
story being told over again, and used to hang in the 
patients' reception room, next to an oil-painting of 
the Punch-Bowl, an admired landscape picture by a 
local artist, highly-toned and true to every particular 
of the scene, with the bright yellow road winding up- 
hill, and the banks of brilliant purple heath, and a white 
thorn In bloom quite beautiful, and the green fir trees, 
and the big Bowl black as a cauldron, — indeed a perfect 
feast of harmonious contrasts in colours. 

And now you know how it is that the names of Captain 
Kirby and Curtis Fakenham are alive to the present 
moment in the district. 

We lived a happy domestic life in those old coaching 
days, when county affairs and county people were the 
topics of firesides, and the country enclosed us to make 
us feel snng in our own importance. My opinion is, 
that men and women grow to their dimensions only 
where such is the case. We had our alarms from the 
outside now and again, but we soon relapsed to dwell 
upon our private business and our pleasant little hopes 
and excitements; the courtships and the crosses and 
the scandals, the tea-parties and the dances, and how 
the morning looked after the stormy night had passed, 



MEANDERINGS OF DAME GOSSIP 25 

and the coach coming down the hill with a box of news 
and perhaps a curious passenger to drop at the inn. 
I do believe we had a liking for the very highwaymen, 
if they had any reputation for civility. What I call 
human events, things concerning you and me, instead 
of the deafening catastrophes now afflicting and taking 
all conversation out of us, had their natural interest 
then. We studied the face of each morning as it came, 
and speculated upon the secret of the thing it might 
have in store for us or our heroes and heroines; we 
thought of them more than of ourselves. Long after 
the adventures of the Punch-Bowl, our county was 
anxious about Countess Fanny and the Old Buccaneer, 
wondering where they were and whether they were 
prospering, whether they were just as much in love as 
ever, and which of them would bury the other, and what 
the foreign people abroad thought of that strange pair. 



CHAPTER III 

CONTINUATION OF THE INTRODUCTORY MEANDERINGS OF 
DAME GOSSIP, TOGETHER WITH HER SUDDEN EX- 
TINCTION 

I HAVE still time before me, according to the terms of 
my agreement with the person to whom I have, I fear 
foolishly, entrusted the letters and documents of a 
story surpassing ancient as well as modern in the wonder- 
ment it causes, that would make the Law courts bless 
their hearts, judges no less than the barristers, to have 
it running through them day by day, with every particular 
to wrangle over, and many to serve as a text for the 
pulpit. So to proceed. 



26 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

It should be mentioned that the postillion Charles 
Dump is not represented, and I have no conception 
of the reason why not, sitting on horseback, in the 
portrait in the possession of the Cawthorne family. I 
have not seen it, I am bound to admit. We had offended 
Dr. Cawthorne, by once in an urgent case calling in 
another doctor, who, he would have it, was a quack, 
that ought to have kUled us, and we ceased to visit; 
but a gentleman who was an established patient of Dr. 
Cawthorne's and had frequent opportunities of judging 
the portrait, in the course of a chronic malady, describes 
Charles Dump on his legs as a small man looking dimin- 
ished from a very much longer one by shrinkage in 
thickish wrinkles from the shoulders to the shanks. 
His hat is enormous and very gay. He is rather of sad 
countenance. An elevation of his collar behind the ears, 
and pointed at the neck, gives you notions of his having 
dropped from some hook. He stands with his forefinger 
extended, like a disused semaphore-post, that seems 
tumbling and desponding on the hill by the highroad, in 
his attitude while telling the tale ; if standing it may be 
called, where the whole figure appears imploring for a 
seat.. That was his natural position, as one would 
suppose any artist must have thought, and a horse 
beneath him. But it has been suggested that the 
artist in question was no painter of animals. Then why 
did he not get a painter of animals to put in the horse? 
It is vain to ask, though it is notorious that artists com- 
bine without bickering to do these things ; and one puts 
his name on the animal, the other on the human being 
or landscape. 

My informant adds, that the prominent feature, tell- 
ing a melancholy tale of its own, is of sanguine colour, 
and while plainly in the act of speakiug, Charles Dump 
might be fancied about to drop off to sleep. He was 



MEANDERINGS OF DAME GOSSIP 27 

impressed by the dreaminess of the face; and I must 
say I regard him as an interesting character. During 
my girlhood Napoleon Bonaparte alone would have 
been his rival for filling an inn along our roads. I have 
known our boys go to bed obediently and get up at 
night to run three miles to The Whbatsheaf, only to 
stand on the bench or traveller's-rest outside the window 
-and look in at Charles Dump reciting, with just room 
enough in the crowd to point his finger, as his way was. 

He left a child, Mary Dump, who grew up to become 
lady's maid to Livia Fakenham, daughter of Curtis, 
the beauty of Hampshire, equalled by no one save 
her cousin Henrietta Fakenham, the daughter of Com- 
modore Baldwin; and they were two different kinds 
of beauties, not to be compared, and different were 
their fortunes; for this lady was likened to the sun 
going down on a cloudy noon, and that lady to the moon 
riding through a stormy night. Livia was the young 
widow of Lord Duffield when she accepted the Earl of 
Fleetwood, and was his third countess, and again a 
widow at eight-and-twenty, and stepmother to young 
Croesus, the Earl of Fleetwood of my story. Mary 
Dump testifies to her kindness of heart to her dependents. 
If we are to speak of goodness, I am afraid there are other 
witnesses. 

I resent being warned that my time is short and that 
I have wasted much of it over 'the attractive Charles.' 
What I have done I have done with a purpose, and it 
must be a story-teller devoid of the rudiments of his 
art who can complain of my dwelling on Charles Dump, 
for the world to have a pause and pin its faith to him, 
which it would not do to a grander person — that is, as 
a peg. Wonderful events, however true they are, must 
be attached to something common and familiar, to make 
them credible. Charles Dump, I say, is like a front-page 



28 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

picture to a history of those old quiet yet exciting 
days in England, and when once you have seized him 
the whole period is alive to you, as it was to me in the 
delicious dulness I loved, that made us thirsty to hear 
of adventures and able to enjoy to the utmost every 
thing occurring. The man is no more attractive to me 
than a lump of clay. How could he be? But sup- 
posing I took up the lump and told you that there where 
I found it, that lump of clay had been rolled over and 
flung off by the left wheel of the prophet's Chariot of Fire 
before it mounted aloft and disappeared in the heavens 
above ! — you would examine it and cherish it and have 
the scene present with you, you may be sure; and 
magnificent descriptions would not be one-half so per- 
suasive. And that is what we call, in my profession, 
Art, if you please. 

So to continue: the Earl of Cressett fell from his 
coach-box in a fit, and died of it, a fortnight after the 
flight of his wife; and the people said she might as 
well have waited. Kirby and Countess Fanny were at 
Lucerne or Lausanne, or some such place, in Switzerland 
when the news reached them, and Kirby, without losing 
an hour, laid hold of an English clergyman of the Estab- 
lished Church and put him through the ceremony of 
celebrating his lawful union with the beautiful young 
creature he adored. And this he did, he said, for the 
world to guard his Fan in a wider circle than his two 
arms could compass, if not quite so well. 

So the Old Buccaneer was ever after that her lawful 
husband, and as his wedded wife, not wedded to a fool, 
she was an example to her sex, like many another woman 
who has begun badly with a light-headed mate. It 
is hard enough for a man to be married to a fool, but 
a man is only half-cancelled by that burden, it has been 
said ; whereas a woman finds herself on board a rudderless 



MEANDERINGS OF DAME GOSSIP 29 

vessel, and often the desperate thing she does is to 
avoid perishing! Ten months, or eleven, some say, 
following the proclamation of the marriage-tie, a son 
was born to Countess Fanny, close by the castle of 
Chillon on the lake, and he had the name of Chillon 
Switzer John Kirby given to him to celebrate the fact. 
Two years later the girl was born, and for the reason of 
her first seeing the light in that Austrian province, she 
was christened Carinthia Jane. She was her old father's 
pet; but Countess Fanny gloried in the boy. She 
had fancied she would be a childless woman before he 
gave sign of coming; and they say she wrote a little 
volume of Meditations in Prospect of Approaching Mother- 
hood, for the guidance of others in a similar situation. 

I have never been able to procure the book or pamphlet, 
but I know she was the best of mothers, and of wives 
too. And she, with her old husband, growing like a 
rose out of a weather-beaten rock, proved she was that, 
among those handsome foreign officers poorly remark- 
able for their morals. Not once had the Old Buccaneer 
to teach them a lesson. Think of it and you will know 
that her feet did not stray — ^nor did her pretty eyes. 
Her heart was too full for the cravings of vanity. Inno- 
cent ladies who get their husbands into scrapes are 
innocent, perhaps; but knock you next door in their 
bosoms, where the soul resides, and ask for information 
of how innocence and uncleanness may go together. 
Kirby purchased a mine in Carinthia, on the borders of 
Styria, and worked it himself. His native land dis- 
pleased him, so that he would not have been unwilling 
to see Chillon enter the Austrian service, which the young 
man was inclined for, subsequent to his return to his 
parents from one of the English public schools, notwith- 
standing his passionate love for Old England. But 
Lord Levellier explained the mystery in a letter to his 



30 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

half-forgiven sister, praising the boy for his defence of 
his mother's name at the school, where a big brutal fellow 
sneered at her, and Chillon challenged him to sword or 
pistol; and then he walked down to the boy's home 
in Staffordshire to force him to fight ; and the father of 
the boy made him offer an apology. That was not much 
balm to Master Chillon's wound. He returned to his 
mother quite heavy, unlike a young man; and the 
unhappy lady, though she knew him to be bitterly 
sensitive on the point of honour, and especially as to 
everything relating to her, saw herself compelled to tell 
him the history of her life, to save him, as she thought, 
from these chivalrous vindications of her good name. 
She may have even painted herself worse than she was, 
both to. excuse her brother's miserliness to her son and 
the world's evil speaking of her. Wisely or not, she chose 
this course devotedly to protect him from the perils she 
foresaw in connection with the name of the once famous 
Countess Fanny in the British Isles. And thus are we 
stricken by the days of our youth. It is impossible to 
moralize conveniently when one is being hurried by a 
person at one's elbow. 

So the young man heard his mother out and kissed 
her, and then he went secretly to Vienna and enlisted 
and served for a year as a private in the regiment of 
Hussars, called, my papers tell me, Liechtenstein, and 
what with his good conduct and the help of Kirby's 
friends, he would have obtained a commission from the 
emperor, when, at the right moment to keep a sprig of 
Kirby's growth for his country. Lord Levellier sent 
word that he was down for a cornetcy in a British regiment 
of dragoons. Chillon came home from a garrison town, 
and there was a consultation about his future career. 
Shall it be England? Shall it be Austria? Countess 
Fanny's voice was for England, and she carried the 



MEANDERINGS OF DAME GOSSIP 31 

vote, knowing though she did that it signified separation, 
and it might be alienation — where her son would chance 
to hear things he could not refute. She believed that 
her son by such a man as Kirby would be of use to 
his country, and her voice, against herself, was for 
England. 

It broke her heart. If she failed to receive the regular 
letter, she pined and was disconsolate. He has heard 
more of me ! was in her mind. Her husband sat look- 
ing at her with his old large grey glassy eyes. You 
would have fancied him awaiting her death as the signal 
for his own release. But she, poor mother, behind 
her weeping lids beheld her son's filial love of her wounded 
and bleeding. When there was anything to be done 
for her, old Kirby was astir. When it was nothing, either 
in physic or assistance, he was like a great corner of 
rock. You may indeed imagine grief in the very rock that 
sees its flower fading to the withered shred. On the last 
night of her life this old man of past ninety carried her 
in his arms up a flight of stairs to her bed. 

A week after her burial, Kirby was found a corpse in 
the mountain forest. His having called the death of 
his darling his lightning-stroke must have been the 
origin of the report that he died of lightning. He 
touched not a morsel of food from the hour of the drop- 
ping of the sod on her. coffin of ebony wood. An old 
crust of their mahogany bread, supposed at first to 
be a specimen of quartz, was found in one of his coat 
pockets. He kissed his girl Carinthia before going out 
on his last journey from home, and spoke some wander- 
ing words. The mine had not been worked for a year. 
She thought she would find him at the mouth of the shaft, 
where he would sometimes be sitting and staring, already 
dead at heart with the death he saw coming to the 
beloved woman. They had to let her down with ropes, 



32 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

that she might satisfy herself he was not below. She 
and her great dog and a faithful man-servant discovered 
the body in the forest. Chillon arrived from England 
to see the common grave of both his parents. 

And now good-bye to sorrow for a while. Keep 
your tears for the living. And first I am going to de- 
scribe to you the young Earl of Fleetwood, son of the 
strange Welsh lady, the richest nobleman of his time, 
and how he persued and shunned the lady who had 
fascinated him, Henrietta, the daughter of Commodore 
Baldwin Fakenham ; and how he met Carinthia Jane ; 
and concerning that lovely Henrietta and Chillon Kirby- 
Levellier; and of the young poet of ordinary parentage, 
and the giant Captain Abrane, and Livia the widowed 
Countess of Fleetwood, Henrietta's cousin, daughter of 
Curtis Fakenham ; and numbers of others ; Lord Level- 
lier, Lord Brailstone, Lord Simon Pitscrew, Chumley 
Potts, young Ambrose Mallard ; and the English pugilist, 
such a man of honour though he drank ; and the adven- 
tures of Madge, Carinthia Jane's maid. Just a few 
touches. And then the marriage dividing Great Britain 
into halves, taking sides. After that, I trust you may 
go on, as I would carry you were we all twenty years 
younger, had I but sooner been in possession of thes3 
treasured papers. I promise you excitement enough, if 
justice is done to them. But I must and will describe 
the wedding. This young Earl of Fleetwood, you should 
know, was a very powder-magazine of ambition, and 
never would he break his word : which is right, if we are 
properly careful ; and so he — 

She ceases. According to the terms of the treaty, 
the venerable lady's time has passed. An extinguisher 
descends on her, giving her the likeness of one under 
condemnation of the. Most Holy Inqusition, in the 



FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 33 

ranks of an auto da f6 ; and singularly resembling that 
victim at the first sharp bite of the flames she will be 
when she hears the version of her story. 



CHAPTER IV 

MORNING AND FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 

Brother and sister were about to leave the mountain- 
land for England. They had not gone to bed over- 
night, and from the windows of their deserted home, 
a little before dawn, they saw the dwindled moon, a 
late riser, break through droves of hunted cloud, directly 
topping their ancient guardian height, the triple peak 
and giant of the range, friendlier in his name than in 
aspect for the two young people clinging to the scene 
they were to quit. His name recalled old days : the 
apparition of his head among the heavens drumrmed on 
their sense of banishment. 

To the girl, this was a division of her life, and the dawn 
held the sword. She felt herself midswing across a gulf 
that was the grave of one half, without a light of promise 
for the other. Her passionate excess of attachment 
to her buried home robbed the future of any colours it 
might have worn to bid a young heart quicken. And 
England, though she was of British blood, was a foreign 
place to her, not alluring: her brother had twice come 
out of England reserved in speech; her mother's talk 
of England had been unhappy ; her father had suffered 
ill-treatment there from a brutal institution termed the 
Admiralty, and had never regretted the not seeing 
England again. The thought that she was bound thither- 
ward enfolded her like a frosty mist. But these bare 



34 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

walls, these loud floors, chill rooms, dull windows, and the 
vault-sounding of the ghostly house, everywhere the 
absence of the faces in the house, told her she had no 
choice, she must go. The appearance of her old friend 
the towering mountain-height, up a blue night-sky, 
compelled her swift mind to see herself far away, yearn- 
ing to him out of exile, an exile that had no local features ; 
she would not imagine them to give a centre of warmth, 
her wilful grief preferred the blank. It resembled death 
in seeming some hollowness behind a shroud, which we 
shudder at. 

The room was lighted by a stable-lantern on a kitchen- 
table. Their seat near the window was a rickety garden- 
bench rejected in the headlong sale of the furniture; 
and when she rose, unable to continue motionless while 
the hosts of illuminated cloud flew fast, she had to warn 
her brother to preserve his balance. He tacitly did so, 
aware of the necessity. 

She walked up and down the long seven-windowed 
saloon, haunted by her footfall, trying to think, chafing 
at his quietness and acknowledging that he did well 
to be quiet. They had finished their packing of 
boxes and of wearing-apparel for the journey. There 
was nothing to think of, nothing further to talk of, 
nothing for her to do save to sit and look, and deaden 
her throbs by counting them. She soon returned to 
her seat beside her brother, with the marvel in her 
breast that the house she desired so much to love should 
be cold and repel her now it was a vacant shell. Her 
memories could not hang within it anywhere. She shut 
her eyes to be with the images of the dead, conceiving 
the method as her brother's happy secret, and imitated 
his posture, elbows propped on knees to support the chin. 
His quietness breathed of a deeper love than her own. 

Meanwhile the high wind had sunk; the moon, after 



FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 35 

pushing her withered half to the zenith, was climbing 
the dusky edge, revealed fitfully; threads and wisps of 
thin vapour travelled along a falling gale, and branched 
from the dome of the sky in migratory broken lines, like 
wild birds shifting the order of flight, north and east, 
where the dawn sat in a web, but as yet had done no 
more than shoot up a glow along the central heavens, in 
amid the waves of deepened cloud: a mirror for night 
to see her dark self in her own hue. A shiver between 
the silent couple pricked their wits, and she said : 
' Chillon, shall we run out and call the morning ? ' 

It was an old game of theirs, encouraged by their 
hearty father, to be out in the early hour on a rise of 
ground near the house and 'call the morning.* Her 
brother was glad of the challenge, and upon one of the 
yawns following a sleepless night, replied with a return 
to boyishness : ' Yes, if you like. It 's the last time we 
shall do her the service here. Let 's go.' 

They sprang up together and the bench fell behind 
them. Swinging the lantern he carried inconsiderately, 
the ring of it was left on his finger, and the end of candle 
rolled out of the crazy frame to the floor and was ex- 
tinguished. Chillon had no match-box. He said to 
her: — 

' What do you think of the window ? — we 've done 
it before, Carin. Better than groping down stairs and 
passages blocked with lumber.' 

'I'm ready,' she said, and caught at her skirts by 
instinct to prove her readiness on the spot. 

A drop of a dozen feet or so from the French window 
to a flower-bed was not very difficult. Her father had 
taught her how to jump, besides the how of many other 
practical things. She leaped as lightly as her brother, 
never touching earth with her hands; and rising from 
the proper contraction of the legs in taking the 



36 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

descent, she quoted her father: 'Mean it when you're 
doing it.' 

' For no enemy's shot is equal to a weak heart in the act,' 
Chillon pursued the quotation, laying his hand on her 
shoulder for a sign of approval. She looked up at 
him. 

They passed down the garden and a sloping meadow 
to a brook swollen by heavy rains; over the brook on 
a narrow plank, and up a steep and stony pathway, 
almost a watercourse, between rocks, to another meadow, 
level with the house, that led ascending through a fir- 
wood; and there the change to thicker darkness told 
them light was abroad, though whether of the clouded 
moon or of the first grey of the quiet revolution was 
uncertain. Metallic light of a subterranean realm, it 
might have been thought. 

'You remember everything of father,' Carinthia said. 
'We both do,' said Chillon. 

She pressed her brother's arm. 'We will. We will 
never forget anything.' 

Beyond the firwood light was visibly the dawn's. 
Half-way down the ravines it resembled the light cast 
off a torrent water. It lay on the grass like a sheet of 
unreflecting steel, and was a face without a smile above. 
Their childhood ran along the tracks to the forest by 
the light, which was neither dim nor cold, but grave; 
presenting tree and shrub and dwarf growth and grass 
austerely, not deepening or confusing them. They 
wound their way by borders of crag, seeing in a dell 
below the mouth of the idle mine begirt with weedy 
and shrub-hung rock, a dripping semi-circle. Farther 
up they came on the flat juniper and crossed a wet 
ground-thicket of whortleberry: their feet were in the 
moist moss among sprigs of heath; and a great fir-tree 
stretched his length, a peeled multitude of his dead 



FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 37 

fellows leaned and stood upright in the midst of scattered 
fire-stained members, and through their skeleton limbs 
the sheer precipice of slate-rock of the bulk across the 
chasm, nursery of hawk and eagle, wore a thin blue 
tinge, the sign of warmer light abroad. 

'This way, my brother!' cried Carinthia, shuddering 
at a path he was about to follow. 

Dawn in the mountain-land is a meeting of many 
friends. The pinnacle, the forest-head, the latschen- 
tufted mound, rock-bastion and defiant cliff and giant 
of the triple peak, were in view, clearly lined for a common 
recognition, but all were figures of solid gloom, unf eatured 
and bloomless. Another minute and they had flung off 
their mail and changed to various, indented, intricate, 
succinct in ridge, scar and channel; and they had all a 
look of watchfulness that made them one company. 
The smell of rock-waters and roots of herb and moss grew 
keen; air became a wine that raised the breast high to 
breathe it; an uplifting coolness pervaded the heights. 
What wonder that the mountain-bred girl should let fly 
her voice. The natural carol woke an echo. She did 
not repeat it. 

'And we will not forget our home, Chillon,' she 
said, touching him gently to comfort some saddened 
feeling. 

The plumes of cloud now slowly entered into the 
lofty arch of dawn and melted from brown to purple- 
black. The upper sky swam with violet; and in a 
moment each stray cloud-feather was edged with rose, 
and then suffused. It seemed that the heights fronted 
East to eye the interflooding of colours, and it was 
imaginable that all turned to the giant whose forehead 
first kindled to the sun : a greeting of god and king. 

On the morning of a farewell we fluctuate sharply between 
the very distant and the close and homely: and even 



38 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

in memory the fluctuation occurs, the grander scene 
casting us back on the modestly nestling, and that, when 
it has refreshed us, conjuring imagination to embrace 
the splendour and wonder. But the wrench of an 
immediate division from what we love makes the things 
within us reach the dearest, we put out our hands for them, 
as violently-parted lovers do, though the soul in days 
to come would know a craving, and imagination flap a 
leaden wing, if we had not looked beyond them. 

'Shall we go down?' said Carinthia, for she knew 
a little cascade near the house, showering on rock and 
fern, and longed to have it round her. 

They descended, Chillon saying that they would soon 
have the mists rising, and must not delay to start on 
their journey. 

The armies of the young sunrise in mountain-lands 
neighbouring the plains, vast shadows, were marching 
over woods and meads, black against the edge of golden ; 
and great heights were cut with them, and bounding 
waters took the leap in a silvery radiance to gloom ; the 
bright and dark-banded valleys were like night and 
morning taking hands down the sweep of their rivers. 
Immense was the range of vision scudding the peaks 
and over the illimitable Eastward plains flat to the very 
East and sources of the sun. 

Carinthia said: 'When I marry I shall come here to 
live and die.' 

Her brother glanced at her. He was fond of her, 
and personally he liked her face; but such a confident 
anticipation of marriage on the part of a portionless 
girl set him thinking of the character of her charms 
and the attraction they would present to the world 
of men. They were expressive enough; at times he 
had thought them marvellous in their clear cut of the 
animating mind. No one could fancy her handsome; 



FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 39 

and just now her hair was in some disorder, a night 
without sleep had an effect on her complexion. 

'It 's not usually the wife who decides where to live/ 
said he. 

Her ideas were anywhere but with the dream of a 
husband. ' Could we stay on another day ? ' 

' My dear girl ! Another night on that crazy stool ! 
Besides, Mariandl is bound to go to-day to her new 
place, and who 's to cook for us ? Do you propose fasting 
as well as watching?' 

'Could I cook?' she asked him humbly. 

' No, you couldn't ; not for a starving regiment ! 
Your accomplishments are of a different sort. No, 
it 's better to get over the pain at once, if we can't escape 
it.' 

'That I think too,' said she, 'and we should have 
to buy provisions. Then, brother, instantly after break- 
fast. Only, let us walk it. I know the whole way, 
and it is not more than a two days' walk for you and 
me. Consent. Driving would be like going gladly. I 
could never bear to remember that I was driven away. 
And walking will save money; we are not rich, you 
tell me, brother.' 

'A few florins more or less!' he rejoined, rather 
frowning. 'You have good Styrian boots, I see. But 
I want to be over at the Baths there soon; not later 
than to-morrow.' 

'But, brother, if they know we are coming they will 
wait for us. And we can be there to-morrow night or 
the next morning !' 

He considered it. He wanted exercise and loved 
this mountain-land; his inclinations melted into hers, 
though he had reasons for hesitating. ' Well, we '11 
send on my portmanteau and your boxes in the cart; 
we '11 walk it. You 're a capital walker, you 're a gallant 



40 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

comrade; I wouldn't wish for a better.' He wondered, 
as he spoke, whether any true-hearted gentleman besides 
himself would ever think the same of this lonely girl. 

Her eyes looked a delighted 'No-really?' for the 
sweetest on earth to her was to be prized by her brother. 

She hastened forward. 'We will go down and have 
our last meal at home,' she said in the dialect of the 
country. 'We have five eggs. No meat for you, dear, 
but enough bread and butter, some honey left, and 
plenty of coffee. I should like to have left old Mariandl 
more, but we are unable to do very much for poor people 
now. Milk, I cannot say. She is just the kind soul 
to be up and out to fetch us milk for an early first break- 
fast ; but she may have overslept herself.' 

Chillon smiled. 'You were right, Janey, about not 
going to bed last night; we might have missed the 
morning.' 

'I hate sleep: I hate anything that robs me of my 
will,' she replied. 

' You 'd be glad of your doses of sleep if you had to 
work and study.' 

'To fall down by the wayside tired out — yes, brother, 
a dead sleep is good. Then you are in the hands of 
God. Father used to say, four hours for a man, six for 
a woman.' 

'And four and twenty for a lord,' added Chillon. 'I 
remember.' 

'A lord of that Admiralty,' she appealed to his closer 
recollection. 'But I mean, brother, dreaming is what 
I detest so.' 

'Don't be detesting, my dear; reserve your strength,' 
said he. 'I suppose dreams are of some use, now and 
then.' 

'I shall never think them useful.' 

'When we can't get what we want, my good Carin.' 



FAREWELL TO AN OLD HOME 41 

'Then we should not waste ourselves in dreams.' 

' They promise falsely sometimes. That 's no reason 
why we should reject the consolation when we can't 
get what we want, my little sister.' 

'I would not be denied.' 

'There 's the impossible.' 

' Not for you, brother.' 

Perhaps a half-minute after she had spoken, he said, 
pursuing a dialogue within himself aloud rather than 
revealing a secret : ' You don't know her position.' 

Carinthia's heart stopped beating. Who was this 
person suddenly conjured up? 

She fancied she might not have heard correctly; she 
feared to ask- and yet she perceived a novel softness 
in him that would have answered. Pain of an unknown 
kind made her love of her brother conscious that if she 
asked she would suffer greater pain. 

The house was in sight, a long white building with 
blinds down at some of the windows, and some wide 
open, some showing unclean glass: the three aspects 
and signs of a house's emptiness when they are seen 
together. 

Carinthia remarked on their having met nobody. It 
had a serious meaning for them. Formerly they were 
proud of outstripping the busy population of the mine, 
coming down on them with wild wavings and shouts of 
sunrise. They felt the death again, a whole field laid 
low by one stroke, and wintriness in the season of glad 
life. A wind had blown and all had vanished. 

The second green of the year shot lively sparkles off 
the meadows, from a fringe of coloured glovelets to a 
warm silver lake of dews. The firwood was already 
breathing rich and sweet in the sun. The half-moon 
fell rayless and paler than the fan of fleeces pushed up 
Westward, high overhead, themselves dispersing on the 



42 , THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

blue in downy^ feathers, like the mottled grey of an 
eagle's breast : ' the smaller of them bluish, like traces 
of the beaked wood-pigeon. 

She looked above, then below on the sHm and straight- 
grown flocks of naked purple crocuses in bud and blow 
abounding over the meadow that rolled to the level of 
the house, and two of these she gathered. 



CHAPTER V 

A MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 

Chillon was right in his forecast of the mists. An 
over-moistened earth steaming to the sun obscured it 
before the two had finished breakfast, which was a 
finish to everything eatable in the ravaged dwelling, with 
the exception of a sly store for the midday meal, that 
old Mariandl had stuffed into Chillon's leather sack — the 
fruit of secret begging on their behalf about the neigh- 
bourhood. He found the sack heavy and bulky as he 
slung it over his shoulders; but she bade him make 
nothing of such a trifle till he had it inside him. 'And 
you that love tea so, my pretty one, so that you always 
laughed and sang after drinking a cup with your mother,' 
she said to Carinthia, ' you will find one pinch of it in your 
bag at the end of the left-foot slipper, to remember your 
home by when you are out in the world.' 

She crossed the strap of the bag on her mistress's 
bosom, and was embraced by Carinthia and Chillon in 
turns, Carinthia telling her to dry her eyes, for that she 
would certainly come back and perhaps occupy the 
house one day or other. The old soul moaned of eyes 
that would not be awake to behold her; she begged a 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 43 

visit at her grave, though it was to be in a Catholic 
burial-place and the priests had used her dear master 
and mistress ill, not allowing them to lie in consecrated 
ground; affection made her a champion of religious 
tolerance and a little afraid of retribution. Carinthia 
soothed her, kissed her, gave the promise, and the part- 
ing was over. 

She and ChUlon had on the previous day accom- 
plished a pilgrimage to the resting-place of their father 
and mother among humble Protestants, iron-smelters, 
in a valley out of the way of their present line of march 
to the glacier of the great snow-mountain marking the 
junction of three Alpine provinces of Austria. Josef, 
the cart-driver with the boxes, who was to pass the 
valley, vowed of his own accord to hang a fresh day's 
wreath on the rails. He would not hear of money for 
the purchase, and they humoured him. The family had 
been beloved. There was an offer of a home for Carin- 
thia in the castle of Coimt Lebem, a friend of her parents, 
much taken with her, and she would have accepted it 
had not Chillon overruled her choice, determined that, 
as she was English, she must come to England and live 
under the guardianship of her uncle. Lord Levellier, of 
whose character he did not speak. 

The girl's cheeks were drawn thin and her lips shut 
as they departed; she was tearless. A phantom ring 
of mist accompanied her from her first footing outside 
the house. She did not look back. The house came 
swimming and plunging after her, like a spectral ship 
on big seas, and her father and mother lived and died 
in her breast; and now they were strong, consulting, 
chatting, laughing, caressing; now still and white, 
caught by a vapour that dived away with them either 
to right or left, but always with the same suddenness, 
leaAjjng her to question herself whether she existed, for 



44 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

more of life seemed to be with their mystery than with 
her speculations. The phantom ring of mist enclosing 
for miles the invariable low-sweeping dark spruce-fir 
kept her thoughts on them as close as the shroud. She 
walked fast, but scarcely felt that she was moving. 
Near midday the haunted circle widened; rocks were 
loosely folded in it, and heads of trees, whose round 
intervolving roots grasped the yellow roadside soil; the 
mists shook like a curtain, and partly opened and dis- 
played a tapestry-landscape, roughly worked, of woollen 
crag and castle and suggested glen, threaded waters, 
very prominent foreground, Autumn flowers on banks; 
a predominant atmospheric greyness. The sun threw 
a shaft, liquid instead of burning, as we see his beams 
beneath a wave; and then the mists narrowed again, 
boiled up the valleys and streams above the mountain, 
curled and flew, and were Python coils pierced by brighter 
arrows of the sun. A spot of blue signalled his victory 
above. 

To look at it was to fancy they had been walking 
under water and had now risen to the surface. Carin- 
thia's mind stepped out of the chamber of death. The 
different air and scene breathed into her a timid warmth 
toward the future, and between her naming of the lesser 
mountains on their side of the pass, she asked questions 
relating to England, and especially the ladies she was 
to see at the Baths beyond the glacier-pass. She had 
heard of a party of his friends awaiting him there, 
without much encouragement from him to ask particulars 
of them, and she had hitherto abstained, as she was 
rather shy of meeting her countrywomen. The ladies, 
Chillon said, were cousins ; one was a young widow, the 
Countess of Fleetwood, and the other was Miss Fakenham, 
a younger lady. 

Carinthia murmured in German : 'Poor soul!' Which 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 45 

one was she pitying? The widow, she said, in the tone 
implying, naturally. 

Her brother assured her the widow was used to it, 
for this was her second widowhood. 

'She marries again !' exclaimed the girl. 

'You don't like that idea?' said he. 

Carinthia betrayed a delicate shudder. 

Her brother laughed to himself at her expressive 
present tense. 'And marries again!' he said. 'There 
will certainly be a third,' 

'Husband?' said she, as at the incredible. 

'Husband, let 's hope,' he answered. 

She dropped from her contemplation of the lady, and 
her look at her brother signified : It will not be you! 

Chillon was engaged in spying for a place where he 
could spread out the contents of his bag. Sharp hunger 
beset them both at the mention of eating. A bank of 
sloping green shaded by a chestnut proposed the seat, 
and here he relieved the bag of a bottle of wine, slices 
of meat, bread, hard eggs, and lettuce, a chipped cup 
to fling away after drinking the wine, and a supply of 
small butter-cakes known to be favourites with Carinthia. 
She reversed the order of the feast by commencing upon 
one of the cakes, to do honour to Mariandl's thoughtful- 
ness. As at their breakfast, they shared the last morsel. 

' But we would have made it enough for our dear old 
dog Pluto as well, if he had lived,' said Carinthia, sigh- 
ing with her thankfulness and compassionate regrets, a 
mixture often inspiring a tender babbling melancholy. 
'Dogs' eyes have such a sick look of love. He might 
have lived longer, though he was very old, only he could 
not survive the loss of father. I know the finding of 
the body broke his heart. He sprang forward, he stopped 
and threw up his head. It was human language to hear 
him, Chillon. He lay in the yard, trying to lift his 



46 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

eyes when I came to him, they were so heavy; and he 
had not strength to move his poor old tail more than 
once. He died with his head on my lap. He seemed 
to beg me, and I took him, and he. breathed twice, and 
that was his end. Pluto! old dog! Well, for you or 
for me, brother, we could not have a better wish. As 
for me, death ! . . . When we know we are to die ! 
Only let my darling live ! that is my prayer, and that 
we two may not be separated till I am taken to their 
grave. Father bought ground for four — his wife and 
himself and his two children. It does not oblige us to 
be buried there, but could we have any other desire?' 

She stretched her hand to her brother. He kissed it 
spiritedly. 

'Look ahead, my dear girl. Help me to finish this 
wine. There 's nothing like good hard walking to give 
common wine of the country a flavour — and out of 
broken crockery.' 

'I think it so good,' Carinthia replied, after drinking 
from the cup. 'In England they do not grow wine. 
Are the people there kind?' 

'They 're civilized people, of course.' 

'Kind — warm to you, Chillon?' 

'Some of them, when you know them. "Warm," is 
hardly the word. Winter 's warm on skates. You 
must do a great deal for yourself. They don't boil over. 
By the way, don't expect much of your uncle.' 

'Will he not love me?' 

'He gives you a lodging in his house, and food — 
enough, we '11 hope. You won't see company or much 
of him.' 

'I cannot exist without being loved. I do not care 
for company. He must love me a little.' 

'He is one of the warm-hearted race^he 's mother's 
brother ; but where his heart is, I 've not discovered- 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 47 

Bear with him just for the present, my dear, till lam 
able to support you.' 

'I will,' she said. 

The dreary vision of a home with an unloving uncle 
was not brightened by the alternative of her brother's 
having to support her. She spoke of money. 'Have 
we none, Chillon?' 

'We have no debts,' he answered. 'We have a claim 
on the Government here for indemnification for property 
taken to build a fortress upon one of the passes into 
Italy. Father bought the land, thinking there would 
be a yield of ore thereabout; and they have seized it, 
rightly enough, but they dispute our claim for the valua- 
tion we put on it. A small sum they would consent to 
pay. It would be a very small sum, and I'm father 's 
son, I will have justice.' 

'Yes!' Carthinia joined with him to show the same 
stout nature. 

'We have nothing else except a bit to toss up for 
luck.' 

'And how can I help being a burden on my brother?' 
she inquired, in distress. 

'Marry, and be a blessing to a husband,' he said 
lightly. 

They performed a sacrifice of the empty bottle and 
cracked cup on the site of their meal, as if it had been 
a ceremony demanded from travellers, and leaving them 
in fragments, proceeded on their journey refreshed. 

Walking was now high enjoyment, notwithstanding 
the force of the sun, for they were a hardy couple, re- 
quiring no more than sufficient nourishment to combat 
the elements with an exulting blood. Besides they 
loved mountain air and scenery, and each step to the 
ridge of the pass they climbed was an advance in splendour. 
Peaks of ashen hue and pale dry red and pale sulphur 



48 THE AMAZING ItlARRIAGE 

pushed up, straight, forked, twisted, naked, striking 
their minds with an indeterminate ghosthness of Indian, 
so strange they were in shape and colouring. These 
sharp points were the first to greet them between the blue 
and green. A depression of the pass to the left gave 
sight of the points of black fir forest below, round the 
girths of the barren shafts. Mountain blocks appeared 
pushing up in front, and a mountain wall and woods on 
it, and mountains in the distance, and cliffs riven with 
falls of water that were silver skeins, down lower to 
meadows, villages and spires, and lower finally to the 
whole valley of the foaming river, field and river seeming 
in imagination rolled out from the hand of the heading 
mountain. 

'But see this in winter, as I did with father, Ghillon!' 
said Carinthia. 

She said it upon love's instinct to halo the scene with 
something beyond present vision, and to sanctify it for 
her brother, so that this walk of theirs together should 
never be forgotten. 

A smooth fold of cloud, moveless along one of the 
upper pastures, and still dense enough to be luminous 
in sunlight, was the last of the mist. 

They watched it lying in the form of a fish, leviathan 
diminished, as they descended their path; and the head 
was lost, the tail spread peacockwise, and evaporated 
slowly in that likeness; and soft to a breath of air as 
gossamer down, the body became a ball, a cock, a little 
lizard, nothingness. 

The bluest bright day of the year was shining. Chillon 
led the descent. With his trim and handsome figure 
before her, Carinthia remembered the current saying, 
that he should have been the girl and she the boy. That 
was because he resembled their mother in face. But 
the buUd of his limbs and shoulders was not feminine. 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 49 

To her admiring eyes, he had a look superior to simple 
strength and grace; the look of a great sky-bird about 
to mount, a fountain-like energy of stature, delightful 
to her contemplation. And he had the mouth women 
put faith in for decision and fixedness. She did, most 
fully ; and reflecting how entirely she did so, the thought 
assailed her: some one must be loving him ! 

She allowed it to surprise her, not choosing to revert 
to an uneasy sensation of the morning. 

That some one, her process of reasoning informed her, 
was necessarily an English young lady. She reserved 
her questions till they should cease this hopping and 
heeling down the zigzag of the slippery path-track. 
When children they had been collectors of beetles and 
butterflies, and the flying by of a 'royal-mantle,' the 
purple butterfly grandly fringed, could still remind 
Carinthia of the event it was of old to spy and chase 
one. Chillon himself was not above the sentiment of 
their very early days; he stopped to ask if she had 
seen that lustrous blue-wing, a rarer species, prized by 
youngsters, shoot through the chestnut trees : and they 
both paused for a moment, gazing into the fairyland 
of infancy, she seeing with her brother's eyes, this prince 
of the realm having escaped her. He owned he might 
have been mistaken, as the brilliant fellow flew swift and 
high between leaves, like an ordinary fritillary. Not 
the less did they get their glimpse of the wonders in the 
sunny eternity of a child's afternoon. 

'An Auerhahn, Chillon!' she said, picturing the 
maturer day when she had scaled perilous heights with 
him at night to stalk the blackcock in the prime of the 
morning. She wished they could have had another 
such adventure to stamp the old home on his heart 
freshly, to the exclusion of beautiful English faces. 

On^ the level of the valley, where they met the 



50 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

torrent-river, walking side by side with him, she ventured 
an inquiry : ' English girls are fair girls, are they not ? ' 

'There are some dark also,' he replied. 

'But the best-looking are fair?' 

'Perhaps they are, with us.' 

'Mother was fair.' 

'She was.' 

'I have only seen a few of them, once at Vienna, 
and at Venice, and those Baths we are going to ; and at 
Meran, I think.' 

'You considered them charming?' 

'Not all.' 

It was touching that she should be such a stranger to 
her countrywomen ! He drew a portrait-case from his 
breast-pocket, pressing the spring, and handed it to her, 
saying: 'There is one.' He spoke indifferently, but as 
soon as she had seen the face inside it, with a look at 
him and a deep breath, she understood that he was an 
altered brother, and that they were three instead of two. 

She handed it back to him, saying hushedly and only : 
'Yes.' 

He did not ask an opinion upon the beauty she had 
seen. His pace increased, and she hastened her steps 
beside him. She had not much to learn when some 
minutes later she said; 'Shall I see her, ChUlon?' 

'She is one of the ladies we are to meet.' 

'What a pity!' Carinthia stepped faster, enlightened 
as to his wish to get to the Baths without delay; and 
her heart softened in reflecting how readily he had yielded 
to her silly preference for going on foot. 

Her cry of regret was equivocal; it produced no 
impression on him. They reached a village where her 
leader deemed it adviseable to drive for the remainder 
of the distance up the valley to the barrier snow-moun- 
tain. She assented instantly ; she had no longer any 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 51 

active wishes of her own, save to make amends to her 
brother, who was and would ever be her brother: she 
could not be robbed of their relationship. 

Something undefined in her feeling of possession she 
had been robbed of, she knew it by her spiritlessness ; 
and she would fain have attributed it to the idle motion 
of the car, now and them stupidly jolting her on, after 
the valiant exercise of her limbs. They were in a land 
of waterfalls and busy mills, a narrowing vale where 
the runs of grass grew short and wild, and the glacier- 
river roared for the leap, more foam than water, and 
the savagery, naturally exciting to her, breathed of its 
lair among the rocks and ice-fields. 

Her brother said: 'There he is.' She saw the white- 
crowned king of the region, of whose near presence to 
her old home she had been accustomed to think proudly, 
and she looked at him without springing to him, and 
continued imaging her English home and her loveless 
uncle, merely admiring the scene, as if the fire of her 
soul had been extinguished. — 'Marry, and be a blessing 
to a husband.' Chillon's words whispered of the means 
of escape from the den of her uncle. 

But who would marry me ! she thought. An unre- 
proved sensation of melting pervaded her; she knew 
her capacity for gratitude, and conjuring it up in her 
heart, there came with it the noble knightly gentleman 
who would really stoop to take a plain girl by the hand, 
release he^,, and say: 'Be mine!' His vizor was down, 
of course. She had no power of imagining the linea- 
ments of that prodigy. Or was he a dream? He came 
and went. Her mother, not unkindly, sadly, had counted 
her poor girl's chances of winning attention and a husband. 
Her father had doated on her face ; but, as she argued, 
her father had been attracted by her mother, a beautiful 
woman, and this was a circumstnace that reflected the 



52 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

greater hopelessness on her prospects. She bore a like- 
ness to her father, little to her mother, though he fancied 
the reverse and gave her the mother's lips and hair. 
Thinking of herself, however, was destructive to the form 
of her mirror of knightliness: he wavered, he fled for 
good, as the rosy vapour born of our sensibility must do 
when we relapse to coldness, and the more completely 
when we try to command it. No, she thought, a plain girl 
should think of work, to earn her independence. 

'Women are not permitted to follow armies, Chillon?' 
she said. 

He laughed out. ' What 's in your head ? ' 

The laugh abashed her; she murmured of women 
being good nurses for wounded soldiers, if they were 
good walkers to march with the army ; and, as evidently 
it sounded witless to him, she added, to seem reasonable : 
'You have not told me the Christian names of those 
ladies.' 

He made queer eyes over the puzzle to connect the 
foregoing and the succeeding in her remarks, but answered 
straightforwardly: 'Livia is one, and Henrietta.' 

Her ear seized on the stress of his voice. ' Henrietta ! ' 
She chose that name for the name of the person disturbing 
her; it fused best, she thought, with the new element 
she had been compelled to take into her system, to absorb 
it if she could. 

'You 're not scheming to have them serve as army 
hospital nurses, my dear?' 

'No, Chillon.' 

'You can't explain it, I suppose?' 

'A sister could go too, when you go to war, Chillon.' 

A sister could go, if it were permitted by the authorities, 
and be near her brother to nurse him in case of wounds ; 
others would be unable to claim the privilege. That was 
her meaning, involved with the hazy project of earning an 



MOUNTAIN WALK IN MIST AND SUNSHINE 53 

independence ; but she could not explain it, and Chillon 
set her down for one of the inexplicable sex, which the 
simple adventurous girl had not previously seemed 
to be. 

She was inwardly warned of having talked foolishly, 
and she held her tongue. Her humble and modest 
jealousy, scarce deserving the title, passed with a sigh 
or two. It was her first taste of life in the world. 

A fit of heavy-mindedness ensued, that heightened 
the contrast her recent mood had bequeathed, between 
herself, ignorant as she was, and those ladies. Their 
names, Livia and Henrietta, soared above her and sang 
the music of the splendid spheres. Henrietta was 
closer to earth, for her features had been revealed; 
she was therefore the dearer, and the richer for him 
who loved her, being one of us, though an over-earthly 
one; and Carinthia gave her to Chillon, reserving for 
herself a handmaiden's place within the circle of their 
happiness. 

This done, she sat straight in the car. It was toiling 
up the steep ascent of a glen to the mountain village, 
the last of her native province. Her proposal to walk 
was accepted, and the speeding of her blood, now that 
she had mastered a new element in it, soon restored 
her to her sisterly, affinity with natural glories. The 
sunset was on yonder side of the snows. Here there 
was a feast of variously-tinted sunset shadows on snow, 
meadows, rock, river, serrated chff. The peaked cap of 
the rushing rock-dotted sweeps of upward snow caught 
a scarlet illumination: one flank of the white in heaven 
was violetted wonderfully. 

At nightfall, under a clear black sky, alive with wakeful 
fires round head and breast of the great Alp, Chillon 
and Carinthia strolled out of the village, and he told 
her, some of his hopes. They referred to inventions of 



54 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

destructive weapons, which were primarily to place 
his country out of all danger from a world in arms ; and 
also, it might be mentioned, to bring him fortune. * For 
I must have money!' he said, sighing it out like a de- 
liberate oath. He and his uncle were associated in the 
inventions. They had an improved rocket that would 
force military chiefs to change their tactics : they had 
a new powder, a rifle, a model musket — the latter based 
on his own plans; and a scheme for fortress artillery 
likely to turn the preponderance in favour of the defensive 
once again. 'And that will be really doing good,' said 
ChUlon, 'for where it 's with the offensive, there 's 
everlasting bullying and plundering.' 

Carinthia warmly agreed with himi, but begged him 
be sure his uncle divided the profits equally. She dis- 
cerned what his need of money signified. 

Tenderness urged her to say : ' Henrietta ! Chillon.' 

'Well?' he answered quickly. 

'Will she wait?' 

' Can she, you should ask.' 

'Is she brave?' 

'Who can tell, till she" has been tried?' 

' Is she quite free ? ' 

'She has not yet been captured.' 

' Brother, is there no one else . . . ? ' 

' There 's a nobleman anxious to bestow his titles on 
her.' 

'He is rich?' 

'The first or second wealthiest in Great Britain, they 
say.' 

'Is he young?' 

'About the same age as mine.' 

' Is he a handsome young man ? ' 

'Handsomer than your brother, my girl.' 

'No, no, no!' said she. 'And what if he is, and 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 55 

your Henrietta does not choose him? Now let me 
think what I long to think. I have her close to me.' 

She rocked a roseate image on her heart and went to 
bed with it by starlight. 

By starlight they sprang to their feet and departed 
the next morning, in the steps of a guide carrying, Chillon 
said, 'a better lantern than we left behind us at the 
smithy.' 

'Father!' exclaimed Carinthia on her swift inward 
breath, for this one of the names he had used to give 
to her old home revived him to her thoughts and senses 
fervently. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 

Three parts down a swift decline of shattered slate, 
where travelling stones loosened from rows of scree 
hurl away at a bound after one roll over, there sat a 
youth dusty and torn, nursing a bruised leg, not in 
the easiest of postures, on a sharp tooth of rock, that 
might at any moment have broken from the slanting 
slab at the end of which it formed a stump, and added 
him a second time to the general crumble of the moun- 
tain. He had done a portion of the descent in excellent 
imitation of the detached fragments, and had parted 
company with his alpenstock and plaid; preserving 
his hat and his knapsack. He was alone, disabled, 
and cheerful; in doubt of the arrival of succour before 
he could trust his left leg to do him further service un- 
aided; but it was morning still, the sun was hot, the 
air was cool; just the tempering opposition to render 
existence pleasant as a piece of vegetation, especially 



56 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

when there has been a question of your ceasing to exist ; 
and the view was of a sustaining subUmity of desolate- 
ness: crag and snow overhead; a gloomy vale below; 
no life either of bird or herd; a voiceless region where 
there had once been roars at the bowling of a hill from a 
mountain to the deep, and the third flank of the mountain 
spoke of it in the silence. 

He would have enjoyed the scene unremittingly, like 
the philosopher he pretended to be, in a disdain of civiliza- 
tion and the ambitions of men, had not a contest with 
earth been forced on him from time to time to keep 
the heel of his right foot, dug in shallow shale, fixed 
and supporting. As long as it held he was happy and 
maintained the attitude of a guitar-player, thrumming 
the calf of the useless leg to accompany tuneful thoughts, 
but the inevitable lapse and slide of the foot recurred, 
and the philosopher was exhibited as an infant learning 
to crawl. The seat, moreover, not having been fashioned 
for him or for any soft purpose, resisted his pressure 
and became a thing of violence, that required to be 
humiliatingly coaxed. His last resource to propitiate 
it was counselled by nature turned mathematician: 
tenacious extension solved the problem; he lay back 
at his length, and with his hat over his eyes consented 
to see nothing for the sake of comfort. Thus he was 
perfectly rational, though when others beheld him he 
appeared the insanest of mortals. 

A girl's voice gave out the mountain carol ringingly 
above. His heart and all his fancies were in motion at 
the sound. He leaned on an elbow to listen; the slide 
threatened him, and he resumed his full stretch, deter- 
mined to take her for a dream. He was of the class of 
youths who, in apprehension that their bright season 
may not be permanent, choose to fortify it by a sys- 
tematic contempt of material realities imless they come 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 57 

in the fairest of shapes, and as he was quite sincere in 
this feeling and election of the right way to live, dis- 
appointment and suUenness overcame him on hearing 
men's shouts and steps; despite his helpless condition 
he refused to stir, for they had jarred on his dream. 
Perhaps his temper, imknown to himself, had been a 
little injured by his mishap, and he would not have 
been sorry to charge them with want of common humanity 
in passing him; or he did not think his pUght so bad, 
else he would have bawled after them had they gone by: 
for the youths of his description are fools only upon 
system, however earnestly they indulge the present 
self-punishing sentiment. The party did not pass; 
they stopped short, they consulted, and a feminine 
tongue more urgent than the others, and very musical, 
sweet to hear anywhere, put him in tune. She said, 
'Brother! brother!' in German. Our philosopher 
flung off his hat. 

'You see !' said the lady's brother, 

'Ask him, Anton,' she said to their guide. 

'And quick!' her brother added. 

The guide scrambled along to him, and at a closer 
glance shouted: 'The Englishman!' wheeling his 
finger to indicate what had happened to the Tomnoddy 
islander. 

His master called to know if there were broken bones, 
as if he could stop for nothing else. 

The cripple was raised. The gentleman and lady 
made their way to him, and he tried his hardest to keep 
from tottering on the slope in her presence. No injury 
had been done to the leg; there was only a stiffness, 
and an idiotic doubling of the knee, as though at each 
step his leg pronounced a dogged negative to the act 
of walking. He said something equivalent to 'this 
donkey leg,' to divert her charitable eyes from a 



58 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

countenance dancing with ugly twitches. She was the 
Samaritan. A sufferer discerns his friend, though it 
be not the one who physically assists him: he is in- 
clined by nature to put material aid at a lower mark 
than gentleness, and her brief words of encouragement, 
the tone of their delivery yet more, were medical to his 
blood, better help than her brother's iron arm, he really 
believed. Her brother and the guide held him on each 
side, and she led to pick out the safer footing for him; 
she looked round and pointed to some projection that 
would form a step; she drew attention to views here 
and there, to win excuses for his resting; she did not 
omit to soften her brother's visible impatience as well, 
and this was the art which affected her keenly sensible 
debtor most. 

'I suppose I ought to have taken a guide,' he said. 

'There 's not a doubt of that,' said Chillon Kirby. 

Carinthia halted, leaning on her staff : ' But I had 
the same wish. They told us at the inn of an English- 
man who left last night to sleep on the mountain, and 
would go alone; and did I not say, brother, that must 
be true love of the mountains ? ' 

'These freaks get us a bad name on the Continent,' 
her brother replied. He had no sympathy with non- 
sense, and naturally not with a youth who smelt of 
being a dreamy romancer and had caused the name of 
Englishman to be shouted in his ear in derision. And 
the fellow might delay his arrival at the Baths and 
sight of the lady of his love for hours ! 

They managed to get him hobbling and slipping to 
the first green tuft of the base, where long black tongues 
of slate-rubble pouring into the grass, like shore-waves 
that have spent their burden, seem about to draw back 
to bring the mountain down. Thence to the level pasture 
was but a few skips performed sliding. 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 59 

'Well, now,' said Chillon, 'you can stand?' 
'Pretty well, I think.' He tried his foot on the 
ground, and then stretched his length, saying that it 
only wanted rest. Anton pressed a hand at his ankle 
and made him wince, but the bones were sound, leg and 
hip not worse than badly bruised. He was advised by 
Anton to plant his foot in the first running water he came 
to, and he was considerate enough to say to Chillon : — 

'Now you can leave me; and let me thank you. 
Half an hour will set me right. My name is Woodseer, 
if ever we meet again.' 

Chillon nodded a hurried good-bye, without a thought 
of giving his name in return. But Carinthia had thrown 
herself on the grass. Her brother asked her in dismay 
if she was tired. She murmured to him: 'I should 
like to hear more English.' 

'My dear girl, you '11 have enough of it in two or three 
weeks.' 

'Should we leave a good deed half done, Chillon?' 
'He shall have our guide.' 
'He may not be rich.' 
' I '11 pay Anton to stick to him.' 
'Brother, he has an objection to guides.' 
Chillon cast hungry eyes on his watch : ' Five minutes, 
then.' He addressed Mr. Woodseer, who was reposing, 
indifferent to time, hard-by: 'Your objection to guides 
might have taught you a sharp lesson. It 's like declining 
to have a master in studying a science — trusting to 
instinct for your knowledge of a bargain. One might 
as well refuse an bar to row in a boat.' 

'I'd rather risk it,' the young man replied. 'These 
guides kick the soul out of scenery. I came for that 
and not for them.' 

'You might easily have been a disagreeable part of 
the scene.' 



60 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

' Why not here as well as elsewhere ? ' 

'You don't care for your life?' 

'I try not to care for it a fraction more than Destiny 
does.' 

'Fatalism. I suppose you care for something?' 

' Besides I 've a slack purse, and shun guides and inns 
when I can. I care for open air, colour, flowers, weeds, 
birds, insects, mountains. There 's a world behind the 
mask. I call this life ; and the town 's a boiling pot, 
intolerably stuffy. My one ambition is to be out of it. 
I thank heaven I have not another on earth. Yes, I 
care for my note-book, because it 's of no use to a human 
being except me. I slept beside a spring last night, and 
I never shall like a bedroom so well. I think I have 
discovered the great secret : I may be wrong, of course.' 
And if so, he had his philosophy, the admission was meant 
to say. 

Carinthia expected the revelation of a notable secret, 
but none came ; dr if it did it eluded her grasp : — he 
was praising contemplation, he was praising tobacco. 
He talked of the charm of poverty upon a settled income 
of a very small sum of money, the fruit of a compact he 
would execute with the town to agree to his perpetual 
exclusion from it, and to retain his identity, and not be 
the composite which every townsman was. He talked 
of Buddha. He said: 'Here the brook's the brook, 
the mountain 's the mountain : they are as they always 
were.' 

' You 'd have men be the same,' Chillon remarked, as 
to a nursling prattler, and he rejoined: 'They've lost 
more than they 've gained ; though,' he admitted, ' there 
has been some gain, in a certain way.' 

Fortunately for them, young men have not the habit 
of reflecting upon the indigestion of ideas they receive 
from members of their community, sometimes upon 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 61 

exchange. They compare a view of life with their own 
view, to condemn it summarily; and he was a curious 
object to Chillon as the perfect opposite of himself. 

'I would advise you,' Chillon said, 'to get a pair of 
Styrian boots, if you intend to stay in the Alps. Those 
boots of yours are London make.' 

' They 're my father 's make,' said Mr. Woodseer. 

Chillon drew out his watch. 'Come, Carinthia, we 
must be off.' He proposed his guide, and, as Anton 
was rejected, he pointed the route over the head of 
the valley, stated the distance to an inn that way, saluted 
and strode. 

Mr. Woodseer, partly rising, presumed, in raising his 
hat and thanking Carinthia, to touch her fingers. She 
smiled on him, frankly extending her open hand, and 
pointing the route again, counselling him to rest at the 
inn, even saying: 'You have not yet your strength to 
come on with us ? ' 

He thought he would stay some time longer: he had 
a disposition to smoke. 

She tripped away to her brother and was watched 
through the whiffs of a pipe far up the valley, guiltless 
of any consciousness of producing an impression. But 
her mind was with the stranger sufficiently to cause her 
to say to Chillon, at the close of a dispute between him 
and Anton on the interesting subject of the growth of 
the horns of chamois : ' Have we been quite kind to that 
gentleman?' 

Chillon looked over his shoulder. ' He 's there still ; 
he 's fond of solitude. And, Carin, my dear, don't give 
your hand when you are meeting or parting with people : 
it 's not done.' 

His uninstructed sister said: 'Did you not like him?' 

She was answered with an 'Oh,' the tone of which 
balanced lightly on the neutral line. 'Some of the ideas 



62 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he has are Lord Fleetwood's, I hear, and one can under- 
stand them in a man of enormous wealth, who doesn't 
know what to do with himself and is dead-sick of flattery ; 
though it seems odd for an English nobleman to be 
raving about Nature. Perhaps it 's because none else 
of them does.' 

' Lord Fleetwood loves our mountains, Chillon ? ' 
'But a fellow who probably has to make his way in 
the world! — and he despises ambition!' . . . Chillon 
dropped him. He was antipathetic to eccentrics, and 
his soldierly and social training opposed the profession 
of heterodox ideas : to have listened seriously to them 
coming from the mouth of an unambitious bootmaker's 
son involved him in the absurdity. He considered that 
there was no harm in the lad, rather a commendable 
sort of courage and some notion of manners; allowing 
for his ignorance of the convenable in putting out his 
hand to take a young lady's, with the plea of thanking 
her. He hoped she would be more on her guard. 

Carinthia was sure she had the name of the nobleman 
wishing to bestow his title upon the beautiful Henrietta. 
Lord Fleetwood I That slender thread given her of the 
character of her brother's riva;l who loved the mountains 
was woven in her mind with her passing experience of 
the youth they had left behind them, until the two 
became one, a highly transfigured one, and the mountain 
scenery made him very threatening to her brother. A 
silky haired youth, brown-eyed, unconquerable in adver- 
sity, immensely rich, fond of solitude, curled, decorated, 
bejewelled by all the elves and gnomes of inmost solitude, 
must have marvellous attractions, she feared. She 
thought of him so much, that her humble spirit con- 
ceived the stricken soul of the woman as of necessity 
the pursuer; as shamelessly, though timidly, as she 
herself pursued in imagination the enchanted secret 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 63 

of the mountain-land. She hoped her brother would not 
supplicate, for it struck her that the lover who besieged 
the lady would forfeit her roaming and hunting fancy. 

'I wonder what that gentleman is doing now,' she said 
to Chillon. 

He grimaced slightly, for her sake; he would have 
liked to inform her, for the sake of educating her in 
the customs of the world she was going to enter, that 
the word 'gentleman' conveys in English a special 
signification. 

Her expression of wonder whether they were to meet 
him again gave Chillon the opportunity of saying: 
' It 's the unlikeliest thing possible — at all events in 
England.' 

'But I think we shall,' said she. 

'My dear, you meet people of your own class; you 
don't meet others.' 

'But we may meet anybody, Chillon !' 

'In the street. I suppose you would not stop to 
speak to him in the street.' 

' It would be strange to see him in the street !' Carinthia 
said. 

'Strange or not!' . . . Chillon thought he had said 
sufficient. She was under his protectorship, otherwise 
he would not have alluded to the observance of class 
distinctions. He felt them personally in this case be- 
cause of their seeming to stretch grotesquely by the 
pretentious heterodoxy of the young fellow, whom, 
nevertheless, thinking him over now that he was men- 
tioned, he approved for his manliness in bluntly telling 
his origin and status. 

A chalet supplied them with fresh milk, and the inn 
of a village on a perch with the midday meal. Their 
appetites were princely and swept over the little inn 
like a conflagration. Only after clearing it did they 



64 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

remember the rearward pedestrian, whose probable 
wants Chillon was urged by Carthinia to speak of to 
their host. They pushed on, clambering up, scurrying 
down, tramping gaily, till by degrees the chambers of 
Carinthia's imagination closed their doors and would 
no longer intercommunicate. Her head refused to 
interest her, and left all activity to her legs and her 
eyes, and the latter became unobservant, except of 
foot-tracks, animal-like. She felt that she was a fine 
machine, and nothing else : and she was rapidly ap- 
proaching those ladies ! 

'You will tell them how I walked with you,' she said. 

'Your friends over yonder?' said he. 

'So that they may not think me so ignorant, brother.' 
She stumbled on the helpless word in a hasty effort to 
cloak her vanity. 

He laughed. Her desire to meet the critical English 
ladies with a towering reputation in one department of 
human enterprise was comprehensible, considering the 
natural apprehensiveness of the half- wild girl before 
such a meeting. As it often happens with the silly 
phrases of simple people, the wrong word, foolish although 
it was, went to the heart of the hearer and threw a more 
charitable light than ridicule on her. So that they 
may know I can do something they cannot do, was the 
interpretation. It showed her deep knowledge of her 
poorness in laying bare the fact. 

Anxious to cheer her, he said: 'Come, come, you can 
dance. You dance well, mother has told me, and she 
was a judge. You ride, you swim, you have a voice — 
for country songs, at all events. And you 're a bit of 
a botanist too. You 're good at English and German ; 
you had a French governess for a couple of years. By 
the way, you understand the use of a walking-stick in 
self-defence : you could handle a sword on occasion.' 



THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER 65 

'Father trained me/ said Carthinia. 'I can fire a 
pistol, aiming.' 

'With a good aim, too. Father told me you could. 
How fond he was of his girl ! Well, bear in mind that 
father was proud of you, and hold up your head wherever 
you are.' 

'I will,' she said. 

He assured her he had a mind to have a bugle blown 
at the entrance of the Baths for a challenge to the bathers 
to match her in warlike accomplishments. 

She bit her lips: she could not bear much rallying 
on the subject just then. 

' Which is the hard one to please ? ' she asked. 

'The one you will find the kinder of the two.' 

'Henrietta?' 

He nodded. 

'Has she a father?' 

'A gallant old admiral: Admiral Baldwin Fakenham.' 

'I am glad of that!' Carinthia sighed out heartily. 
'And he is with her? And likes you, Chillon?' 

'On the whole, I think he does.' 

'A brave officer!' Such a father would be sure to 
like him. 

So the domestic prospect was hopeful. 

At sunset they stood on the hills overlooking the 
basin of the Baths, all enfolded in swathes of pink and 
crimson up to the shining grey of a high heaven that 
had the fresh brightness of the morning. 

'We are not tired in the slightest,' said Carinthia, 
trifling with the vision of a cushioned rest below. 'I 
could go on through the night quite comfortably.' 

'Wait till you wake up in your little bed to-morrow,' 
Chillon replied stoutly, to drive a chill from his lover's 
heart, that had seized it at the bare suggestion of their 
going on. 



66 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAPTER VII 

THE lady's letter 

Is not the lover a prophet? He that fervently desires 
may well be one ; his hurried nature is alive with warmth 
to break the possible blow: and if his fears were not 
needed they were shadows; and if fulfilled, was he 
not convinced of his misfortune by a dark anticipation 
that rarely erred? Descending the hills, he remem- 
bered several omens : the sun had sunk when he looked 
down on the villas and clustered houses, not an edge 
of the orb had been seen; the admiral's quarters in the 
broad-faced hotel had worn an appearance resembling 
the empty house of yesterday ; the encounter with the 
fellow on the rocks had a bad whisper of impish tripping. 
And what moved Carinthia to speak of going on? 

A letter was handed to Chillon in the hall of the ad- 
miral's hotel, where his baggage had already been de- 
livered. The manager was deploring the circumstance 
that his rooms were full to the roof, when Chillon said : 
'Well, we must wash and eat'; and Carinthia, from 
watching her brother's forehead during his perusal of 
the letter, declared her readiness for anything. He 
gave her the letter to read by herself while preparing to 
sit at table, unwilling to ask her for a further tax on her 
energies — but it was she who had spoken of going on ! 
He thought of it as of a debt she had contracted and 
might be supposed to think payable to their misfortune. 

She read off the first two sentences. 

'We can have a carriage here, Chillon; order a 
carriage ; I shall get as much sleep in a carriage as in a 
bed ; I shall enjoy driving at night,' she said immediately, 



THE LADY'S LETTER 67 

and strongly urged it and forced him to yield, the manager 
observing that a carriage could be had. 

In the privacy of her room, admiring the clear flowing 
hand, she read the words, delicious in their strangeness 
to her, notwithstanding the heavy news, as though they 
were sung out of a night-sky : — 

' Most picturesque of Castles! 

May none these marks efface, 
For they appeal from Tyranny . . .' 

'We start at noon to-day. Sailing orders have been 
issued, and I could only have resisted them in my own 
person by casting myself overboard. I go like the 
boat behind the vessel. You were expected yesterday, 
at latest this morning. I have seen boxes in the hall, 
with a name on them not foreign to me. Why does 
the master tarry? Sir, of your valliance you should 
have held to your good vow, quoth the damozel, for 
now you see me sore perplexed and that you did not 
your devoir is my affliction. Where lingers chivalry, 
she should have proceeded, if not with my knight? I 
feast on your regrets. I would not have you less than 
miserable: and I fear the reason is, that I am not so 
very, very sure you will be so at all or very hugely, 
as I would command it of you for just time enough 
to see that change over your eyebrows I know so well. 

'If you had seen a certain Henrietta yesterday you 
would have the picture of how you ought to look. The 
admiral was heard welcoming a new arrival — you can 
hear him. She ran down the stairs quicker than any 
cascade of this district, she would have made a bet with 
Livia that it could be no one else — her hand was out, — 
before she was aware of .the difference it was locked in 
Lord F.'s ! 



68 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Let the guilty absent suffer for causing such a be- 
trayal of disappointment. I must be avenged ! But if 
indeed you are unhappy and would like to chide the 
innocent, I am full of compassion for the poor gentleman 
inheriting my legitimate feelings of wrath, and beg merely 
that he will not pour them out on me with pen and paper, 
but from his lips and eyes. 

'Time pressing, I chatter no more. The destination 
is Livia's beloved Baden. We rest a night in the city 
of Mozart, a night at Munich, a night at Stuttgart. 
Baden will detain my cousin full a week. She has 
Captain Abrane and Sir Meeson Corby in attendance — 
her long shadow and her short : both devoted to Lord 
F., to win her smile, and how he drives them ! The 
captain has been paraded on the promenade, to the 
stupefaction of the foreigner. Princes, counts, generals, 
diplomats passed under him in awe. I am told that he 
is called St. Christopher. 

'Why do we go thus hastily? — my friend, this letter 
has to be concealed. I know some one who sees in the 
dark. 

'Think no harm of Livia. She is bent upon my 
worldly advantage, and that is plain even to the person 
rejecting it. How much more so must it be to papa, 
though he likes you, and when you are near him would 
perhaps, in a fit of unworldliness, be almost as reckless 
as the creature he calls madcap and would rather call 
countess. No ! sooner with a Will-o'-the-wisp, my 
friend. Who could ever know where the man was 
when he himself never knows where he is. He is the 
wind that bloweth as it listeth — because it is without 
an aim or always with a new one. And am I the one 
to direct him? I need direction. My lord and sover- 
eign must fix my mind. I am volatile, earthly, not 
to be trusted if I do not worship. He himself said to 



THE LADY'S LETTER 69 

me that — he reads our characters. "Nothing but a 
proved hero will satisfy Henrietta," his words ! And 
the hero must be shining like a beacon-fire kept in a 
blaze. .Quite true; I own it. Is Chillon Kirby satisfied ? 
He ought to be. 

' But oh ! — to be yoked is an insufferable thought, 
unless we name all the conditions. But to be yoked to 
a creature of impulses ! Really I could only describe 
his erratic nature by commending you to the study of 
a dragon-fly. It would map you an idea of what he has 
been in the twenty-four hours since we had him here. 
They tell me a vain sort of person is the cause. Can 
she be the cause of his resolving to have a residence 
here, to buy up half the valley — erecting a royal palace 
— and marking out the site — raving about it in the 
wildest language, poetical if it had been a little reasonable : 
— and then, after a night, suddenly, unaccountably, 
hating the place, and being under the necessity of flying 
from it in hot haste, tearing us all away, as if we were 
attached to a kite that will neither mount nor fall, but 
rushes about headlong. Has he heard, or suspected? 
or seen certain boxes bearing a name? Livia has no 
suspicion, though she thinks me wonderfully contented 
in so dull a place, where it has rained nine days in a 
fortnight. I ask myself whether my manner of greeting 
him betrayed my expectation of another. He has 
brains. It is the greatest of errors to suppose him at 
all like the common run of rich young noblemen. He 
seems to thirst for brilliant wits and original sayings. 
His ambition is to lead all England in everything ! 
I readily acknowledge that he has generous ideas too; 
but try to hold him, deny him his liberty, and it would 
be seen how desperate and relentless he would be to get 
loose. Of this I am convinced : he would be either 
the^most abject of lovers, or a woman (if it turned out 



70 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

not to be love) would find him the most unscrupulous of 
yokefellows. Yokefellow ! She would not have her 
reason in consenting. A lamb and a furious bull ! 
Papa and I have had a serious talk. He shuts his ears 
to my comparisons, but admits, that as I am the principal 
person concerned, etc. Rich and a nobleman is too 
tempting for an anxious father; and Livia's influence 
is paramount. She has not said a syllable in depreciation 
of you. That is to her credit. She also admits that I 
must yield freely if at all, and she grants me the use of 
similes ; but her tactics are to contest them one by one, 
and the admirable pretender is not as shifty as the mariner's 
breeze, he is not like the wandering spark in burnt paper, 
of which you cannot say whether it is chasing or chased : 
it is I who am the shifty Pole to the steadiest of magnets. 
She is a princess in other things besides her superiority to 
Physics. There will be wild scenes at Baden. 

'My Diary of to-day is all bestowed on you. What 
have I to write in it except the pair of commas under 
the last line of yesterday — "He has not come!" Oh! 
to be caring for a he. 

'O that I were with your sister now, on one side of 
her idol, to correct her extravagant idolatry ! I long 
for her. I had a number of nice little phrases to pet her 
with. 

'You have said (I have it written) that men who are 
liked by men are the best friends for women. In which 
case, the earl should be worthy of our friendship ; he is 
liked. Captain Abrane and Sir Meeson, in spite of the 
hard service he imposes on them with such comical 
haughtiness, incline to speak well of him, and Methuen 
Rivers — ^here for two days on his way to his embassy at 
Vienna — assured us he is the rarest of gentlemen on the 
point of honour of his word. They have stories of him, 
to confirm Livia's eulogies, showing him punctilious to 



THE LADY'S LETTER 71 

chivalry. No man alive is like him in that, they say. 
He grieves me. All that you have to fear is my pity 
for one so sensitive. So speed, sir! It is not good for 
us to be much alone, and I am alone when you are absent. 

' I hear military music ! 

'How grand that music makes the dullest world 
appear in a minute. There is a magic in it to bring 
you to me from the most dreadful of distances. — Chillon ! 
it would kill me ! — Writing here and you perhaps behind 
the hill, I can hardly bear it ; — I am torn away, my hand 
will not any more. This music burst out to mock me ! 
Adieu. 

'I am yours. 

'Your Henrietta. 

'A kiss to the sister. It is owing to her.' 

Carinthia kissed the letter on that last line. It seemed 
to her to end in a celestial shower. 

She was oppressed by wonder of the writer who could 
run like the rill of the mountains in written speech ; and 
her recollection of the contents perpetually hurried to 
the close, whch was more in her way of writing, for 
there the brief sentences had a throb beneath them. 

She did not speak of the letter to her brother when 
she returned it. A night in the carriage, against his 
shoulder, was her happy prospect, in the thought that 
she would be with her dearest all night, touching him 
asleep, and in the sweet sense of being near to the beloved 
of the fairest angel of her sex. They pursued their 
journey soon after Anton was dismissed with warm 
shakes of the hand and appointments for a possible year 
in the future. 

The blast of the postillion's horn on the dark highway 
moved Chillon to say: 'This is what they call posting, 
mj dear.' 



72 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

She replied: 'Tell me, brother: I do not understand, 
"Let none these marks efface," at the commencement, 
after most "picturesque of Castles" : — that is you.' 

'They are quoted from the verses of a lord who was 
a poet, addressed to the castle on Lake Leman. She 
will read them to you.' 

'Will she?' 

The mention of the lord set Carinthia thinking of 
the lord whom that beautiful she pitied because she 
was forced to wound him and he was very sensitive. 
Wrapped in Henrietta, she slept through the joltings 
of the carriage, the grinding of the wheels, the blowing 
of the horn, the flashes of the late moonlight and the 
kindling of dawn. 



CHAPTER VIII 

OF THE ENCOUNTEK OP TWO STRANGE YOUNG MEN AND 
THEIE CONSORTING : IN WHICH THE MALE READER IS 
REQUESTED TO BEAR IN MIND WHAT WILD CREATURE 
HE WAS IN HIS YOUTH, WHILE THE FEMALE SHOULD 
MARVEL CREDULOUSLY. 

The young man who fancied he had robed himself in 
the plain homespun of a natural philosopher at the 
age of twenty- three journeyed limping leisurely in the 
mountain maid Carinthia's footsteps, thankful to the 
Fates for having seen her; and reproving the remainder 
of superstition within him, which would lay him open 
to smarts of evil fortune if he encouraged a senseless 
gratitude for good; seeing that we are simply to take 
what happens to us. The little inn of the village on 
the perch furnished him a night's lodging and a laugh 
of satisfaction to hear of a young lady and gentleman, 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 73 

and their guide, who had devoured everything eatable 
half a day in advance of him, all save the bread and 
butter, and a few scraps of meat, apologetically spread 
for his repast by the maid of the inn: not enough for a 
bantam cock, she said, promising eggs for breakfast. 
He vowed with an honest heart, that it was more than 
enough, and he was nourished by sympathy with the 
appetites of his precursors and the maid's description 
of their deeds. That name, Carinthia, went a good way 
to fill him. 

Farther on he had plenty, but less contentment. He 
was compelled to acknowledge that he had expected to 
meet Carinthia again at the Baths. Her. absence dealt 
a violent shock to the aerial structure he dwelt in; for 
though his ardour for the life of the solitudes was un- 
feigned, as was his calm overlooking of social distinctions, 
the self-indulgent dreamer became troubled with an 
alarming sentience, that for him to share the passions of 
the world of men was to risk the falling lower than most. 
Women are a cause of dreams, but they are dreaded 
enemies of his kind of dream, deadly enemies of the 
immaterial dreamers ; and should one of them be taken 
on board a vessel of the vapourish texture young Wood- 
seer sailed in above the clouds lightly while he was in it 
alone, questions of past, future, and present, the three 
weights upon humanity, bear it down, and she must go, 
or the vessel sinks. And cast out of it, what was he? 
The asking exposed him to the steadiest wind the civilized 
world is known to blow. From merely thinking upon 
one of the daughters of earth, he was made to feel his 
position in that world, though he refused to understand 
it, and assisted by two days of hard walking he reduced 
Carinthia to an abstract enthusiasm, no very serious 
burden. His note-book sustained it easily. He wrote 
her name in simple fondness of the name; a verse, and 



74 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

hints for more, and some sentences, which he thought 
profound. They were composed as he sat by the roadway, 
on the top of hills, and in a boat crossing a dark green 
lake deep under wooded mountain walls : things of price- 
less value. 

It happened, that midway on the lake he perceived 
his boatman about to prime a pistol to murder the 
mild-eyed stillness, and he called to the man in his 
best German to desist. During the altercation, there 
passed a countryman of his in another of the punts, 
who said gravely: 'I thank you for that.' It was early 
morning, and they had the lake to themselves, each 
deeming the other an intruder; for the courtship of 
solitude wanes when we are haunted by a second person 
in pursuit of it; he is discolouring matter in our pure 
crystal cup. Such is the worship of the picturesque; 
and it would appear to say, that the spirit of man finds 
itself yet in the society of barbarians. The case admits 
of good pleading either way, even upon the issue whether 
the exclusive or the vulgar be the more barbarous. But 
in those days the solicitation of the picturesque had been 
revived by a poet of some impassioned rhetoric, and two 
devotees could hardly meet, as the two met here, and not 
be mutually obscurants. 

They stepped ashore in turn on the same small shoot 
of land where a farm-house near a chapel in the shadow 
of cliffs did occasional service for an inn. Each had 
intended to pass a day and a night in this lonely dwelling- 
place by the lake, but a rival was less to be tolerated there 
than in love, and each awaited the other's departure, 
with an air that said : ' You are in my sunlight ' ; and 
going deeper, more sternly: 'Sir, you are an offence to 
Nature's pudency ! ' 

Woodseer was the more placable of the two; he had 
taken possession of the bench outside, and he had his 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 75 

note-book and much profundity to haul up with it while 
fish were frying. His countryman had rushed inside 
to avoid him, and remained there pacing the chamber 
like a lion newly caged. Their boatmen were brotherly 
in the anticipation of provision and payment. 

After eating his fish, Woodseer decided abruptly, that 
as he could not have the spot to himself, memorable 
as it would have been to intermarry with Nature in so 
sacred a well-depth of the mountains, he had better be 
walking and climbing. Another boat paddling up the 
lake had been spied: solitude was not merely shared 
with a rival, but violated by numbers. In the first case, 
we detest the man; in the second, we fly from an out- 
raged scene. He wrote a line or so in his book, hurriedly 
paid his bill, and started, fuU of the matter he had briefly 
committed to his pages. 

At noon, sitting beside the beck that runs from the 
lake, he was overtaken by the gentleman he had left 
behind, and accosted in the informal English style, 
with all the politeness possible to a nervously blunt 
manner: 'This book is yours, — I have no doubt it is 
yours; I am glad to be able to restore it; I should be 
glad to be the owner — writer of the contents, I mean. 
I have to beg your excuse; I found it lying open; I 
looked at the page, I looked through the whole; I am 
quite at your mercy.' 

Woodseer jumped at the sight of his note-book, felt for 
the emptiness of his pocket, and replied: 'Thank you, 
thank you. It 's of use to me, though to no one else.' 

'You pardon me?' 

'Certainly. I should have done it myself.' 

' I cannot offer you my apologies as a stranger.' Lord 
Fleetwood was the name given. 

Woodseer's plebeian was exchanged for it, and he 
stgod up. 



76 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

The young lord had fair, straight, thin features, with 
large restless eyes that lighted quickly, and a mouth 
that was winning in his present colloquial mood. 

'You could have done the same? I should find it 
hard to forgive the man who pried into my secret 
thoughts,' he remarked. 

'There they are. If one puts them to paper! . . .' 
Woodseer shrugged. 

'Yes, yes. They never last long enough with me. 
So far I 'm safe. One page led to another. You can 
meditate. I noticed some remarks on Religions. You 
think deeply.' 

Woodseer was of that opinion, but modesty urged 
him to reply with a small flourish. 'Just a few heads 
of ideas. When the wind puffs down a sooty chimney 
the air is filled with little blacks that settle pretty much 
like the notes in this book of mine. There they wait 
for another puff, or my fingers to stamp them.' 

'I could tell you were the owner of that book,' said 
Lord Fleetwood. He swept his forehead feverishly. 
'What a power it is to relieve one's brain by writing! 
May I ask you, which one of the Universities . . . ? ' 

The burden of this question had a ring of irony to 
one whom it taught to feel rather defiantly, that he 
carried the blazon of a reeking tramp. 'My Univer- 
sity,' Woodseer replied, 'was a merchant's office in 
Bremen for some months. I learnt more Greek and 
Latin in Bremen than business. I was invalided home, 
and then tried a merchant's office in London. I put 
on my hat one day, and walked into the country. My 
College fellows were hawkers, tinkers, tramps and plough- 
men, choughs and crows. A volume of our Poets and 
a History of Philosophy composed my library. I had 
scarce any money, so I learnt how to idle inexpensively 
— a good first lesson. We 're at the bottom of the world 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 77 

when we take to the road; we see men as they were in 
the beginning — not so eager for harness till they get 
acquainted with hunger, as I did, and studied in myself 
the old animal having his head pushed into the collar 
to earn a feed of corn.' 

Woodseer laughed, adding, that he had been of a 
serious mind in those days of the alternation of smooth 
indifference and sharp necessity, and he had plucked a 
flower from them. 

His nature prompted him to speak of himself with 
simple candour, as he had done spontaneously to Chillon 
Kirby, yet he was now anxious to let his companion 
know at once the common stuff he was made of, together 
with the great stuff he contained. He grew conscious 
of an over-anxiety, and was uneasy, recollecting how he 
had just spoken about his naturalness, dimly if at all 
apprehending the cause of this disturbance within. 
What is a lord to a philosopher ! But the world is 
around us as a cloak, if not a coat ; in his ignorance he 
supposed it specially due to a lord seeking acquaintance 
with him, that he should expose his condition : doing 
the which appeared to subject him to parade his intel- 
lectual treasures and capacity for shaping sentences; 
and the effect upon Lord Fleetwood was an incentive 
to the display. Nevertheless he had a fretful desire to 
escape fron the discomposing society of a lord , he fixed 
his knapsack and began to saunter. 

The young lord was at his elbow. ' I can't part with 
you. Will you allow me?' 

Woodseer was puzzled and had to say : '' If you wish 
it.' 

' I do wish it : an hour's walk with you. One does 
not meet a man like you every day. I have to join a 
circle of mine in Baden, but there 's no hurry ; I could 
be disengaged for a week. And I have things to ask 



78 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

you, owing to my indiscretion — but you have excused 
it.' 

Woodseer turned for a farewell gaze at the great 
Watzmann, and saluted him. 

'Splendid,' said Lord Fleetwood; 'but don't clap 
names on the mountains. — I saw written in your book : 
"A text for Dada." You write: "A despotism would 
procure a perfect solitude, but kill the ghost." That was 
my thought at the place where we were at the lake. I 
had it. Tell me — though I could not have written it, 
and "ghost" is just the word, the exact word — tell me, 
are you of Welsh blood? "Dad" is good Welsh — 
pronounce it hard.' 

Woodseer answered.: 'My mother was a Glamor- 
ganshire woman. My father, I know, walked up from 
Wales, mending boots on his road for a livelihood. He 
is not a bad scholar, he knows Greek enough to like 
it. He is a Dissenting preacher. When I strike a 
truism, I 've a habit of scoring it to give him a peg or 
tuning-fork for one of his discourses. He 's a man of 
talent; he taught himself, and he taught me more 
than I learnt at school. He is a thinker in his way. 
He loves Nature too. I rather envy him in some 
respects. He and I are hunters of Wisdom on different 
tracks; and he, as he says, "waits for me." He's 
patient !' 

'Ah, and I wanted to ask you,' Lord Fleetwood ob- 
served, bursting with it, ' I was puzzled by a name 
you write here and there near the end, and permit me to 
ask it : Carinthia ! It cannot be the country ? You 
write after^the name: "A beautiful Gorgon — a haggard 
Venus." It seized me. I have had the face before my 
eyes ever since. You must mean a woman. I can't 
be deceived in allusions to a woman : they have heart 
in them. You met her somewhere about Carinthia, 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 79 

and gave her the name ? You write — may I refer to the 
book?' 

He received the book and flew through the leaves : 
'Here — "A panting look": you write again: "A look 
of beaten flame : a look of one who has run and at last 
beholds!" But that is a living face: I see her! Here 
again : " From minute to minute she is the rock that loses 
the sun at night and reddens in the morning." You could 
not create an idea of a woman to move you like that. 
No one could, I am certain of it, certain ; if so, you 're 
a wizard — I swear you are. But that 's a face high over 
beauty. Just to know there is a woman like her, is an 
antidote. You compare her to a rock. Who would 
imagine a comparison of a woman to a rock ! But rock 
is the very picture of beautiful Gorgon, haggard Venus. 
Tell me you met her, you saw her. I want only to hear 
she lives, she is in the world. Beautiful women compared 
to roses may whirl away with their handsome dragoons ! 
A pang from them is a thing to be ashamed of. And 
there are men who trot about whining with it ! But 
a Carinthia makes pain honourable. You have done 
what I thought impossible — fused a woman's face and 
grand scenery, to make them inseparable. She might 
be wicked for me. I should see a bright rim round 
hatred of her ! — the rock you describe. I could endure 
horrors and not annihilate her! I should think her 
sacred.' 

Woodseer turned about to have a look at the man 
who was even quicker than he at realizing a person 
from a hint of description, and almost insanely extrava- 
gant in the pitch of the things he uttered to a stranger. 
For himself, he was open with everybody, his philosophy 
not allowing that strangers existed on earth. But the 
presence of a lord brought the conventional world to his 
feelings, though at the same time the title seemed to 



80 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

sanction the exceptional abruptness and wildness of this 
lord. As for suspecting him to be mad, it would have 
been a common idea: no stretching of speech or over- 
stepping of social rules could waken a suspicion so spirit- 
less in Woodseer. 

He said: 'I can tell you I met her and she lives. I 
could as soon swim in that torrent or leap the mountain 
as repeat what she spoke, or sketch a feature of her. 
She goes into the blood, she is a new idea of women. 
She has the face that would tempt a gypsy to evil tellings. 
I could think of it as a history written in a line: Carinthia, 
Saint and Martyr ! As for comparisons, they are flowers 
thrown into the fire.' 

'I have had that — I have thought that,' said Lord 
Fleetwood. 'Go on; talk of her, pray; without com- 
parisons. I detest them. How did you meet her? 
What made you parii? Where is she now? I have no 
wish to find her, but I want thoroughly to believe in 
her.' 

Another than Woodseer would have perceived the 
young lord's malady. Here was one bitten by the 
serpent of love, and athirst for an image of the sex to 
serve for the cooling herb, as youth will be. Woodseer 
put it down to a curious imaginative fellowship with 
himself. He forgot the lord, and supposed he had found 
his own likeness, less gifted in speech. After talking 
of Carinthia more and more in the abstract, he fell upon 
his discovery of the Great Secret of life, against which 
his hearer struggled for a time, though that was cooling 
to him, too ; but ultimately there was no resistance, and 
so deep did they sink into the idea of pure contemplation, 
that the idea of woman seemed to have become a part 
of it. No stronger proof of their sethereal conversational 
earnestness could be offered. A locality was given to 
the Great Secret, and of course it was the place where the 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 81 

most powerful recent impression had been stamped on the 
mind of the discoverer : the shadowy valley rolling from 
the slate-rock. Woodseer was too artistic a dreamer 
to present the passing vision of Carinthia with any 
associates there. She passed: the solitude accepted her 
and lost her; and it was the richer for the one swift 
gleam : she brought no trouble, she left no regrets ; she 
was the ghost, of the rocky obscurity. But now remem- 
bering her mountain carol, he chanced to speak of her as 
a girl. 

'She is a girl?' cried Lord Fleetwood, frowning over 
an utter revolution of sentiment at the thought of the 
beautiful Gorgon being a girl; for, rapid as he was to 
imagine, he had raised a solid fabric upon his concep- 
tion of Carinthia the woman, necessarily the woman — 
logically. Who but the woman could look the Gorgon ! 
He tried to explain it to be impossible for a girl to wear 
the look: and his notion evidently was, that it had come 
upon a beautiful face in some staring horror of a world 
that had bitten the tender woman. She touched him 
sympathetically through the pathos. 

Woodseer flung out vociferously for the contrary. 
Who but a girl could look the beautiful Gorgon ! What 
other could seem an emanation of the mountain soli- 
tude? A woman would instantly breathe the world on 
it to destroy it. Hers would be the dramatic and not 
the poetic face. It would shriek of man, wake the 
echoes with the tale of man, slaughter all quietude. 
But a girl's face has no story of poisonous intrusion. 
She indeed may be cast in the terrors of Nature, and 
yet be sweet with Nature, beautifiil because she is 
purely of Nature. Woodseer did his best to present 
his view irresistibly. Perhaps he was not clear; it was 
a piece of skiamachy, diflScult to render clear to the 
defeated. 



82 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Lord Fleetwood had nothing to say but ' Gorgon ! a 
girl a Gorgon!' and it struck Woodseer as intensely 
unreasonable, considering that he had seen the girl 
whom, in his effort to portray her, he had likened to 
a beautiful Gorgon. He recounted the scene of the 
meeting with her, pictured it in effective colours, but 
his companion gave no response, nor a nod. They 
ceased to converse, and when the young lord's hired 
carriage drew up on the road, Woodseer required per- 
suasion to accompany him. They were both in their 
different stations young tyrants of the world, ready to 
fight the world and one another for not having their 
immediate view of it such as they wanted it. They 
agreed, however, not to sleep in the city. Beds were to 
be had near the top of a mountain on the other side of 
the Salza, their driver informed them, and vowing them- 
selves to that particular height, in a mutual disgust of 
the city, they waxed friendlier, with a reserve. 

Woodseer soon had experience that he was receiving 
exceptional treatment from Lord Fleetwood, whose man- 
servant was on the steps of the hotel in Salzburg on the 
lookout for his master. 

'Sir Meeson has been getting impatient, my lord,' 
said the man. 

Sir Meeson Corby appeared; Lord Fleetwood cut 
him short : ' You 're in a hurry ; go at once, don't 
wait for me; I join you in Baden. — Do me the favour 
to eat with me,' he turned to Woodseer. 'And here, 
Corby ! tell the countess I have a friend to bear me 
company, and there is to be an extra bedroom secured 
at her hotel. That swinery of a place she insists on 
visiting is usually crammed. With you there,' he turned 
to Woodseer, 'I might find it agreeable. — You can take 
my man, Corby ; I shall not want the fellow.' 

'Positively, my dear Fleetwood, you know,' Sir 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 83 

Meeson expostulated, 'I am under orders; I don't see 
how — I really can't go on without you.' 

'Please yourself. This gentleman is my friend, 
Mr. Woodseer.' 

Sir Meeson Corby was a plump little beau of forty, 
at war with his fat and accounting his tight blue tail 
coat and brass buttons a victory. His tightness made 
his fatness elastic; he looked wound up for a dance, 
and could hardly hold on a leg; but the presentation 
of a creature in a battered hat and soiled garments, 
carrying a tattered knapsack half slung, lank and with 
disorderly locks, as the Earl of Fleetwood's friend — the 
friend of the wealthiest nobleman of Great Britain! — 
fixed him in a perked attitude of inquiry that exhausted 
interrogatives. Woodseer passed him, slouching a bow. 
The circular stare of Sir Meeson seemed unable to con- 
tract. He directed it on Lord Fleetwood, and was then 
reminded that he dealt with prickles. 

'Where have you been?' he said, blinking to refresh 
his eyeballs. 'I missed you, I ran round and round the 
town after you.' 

'I have been to the lake.' 

'Queer fish there!' Sir Meeson dropped a glance on 
the capture. 

Lord Fleetwood took Woodseer's arm. 'Do you eat 
with us?' he asked the baronet, who had stayed his 
eating for an hour and was famished ; so they strode to 
the dining-room. 

'Do you wash, sir, before eating?' Sir Meeson said 
to Woodseer, caressing his hands when they had seated 
themselves at table. 'Appliances are to be found in 
this hotel.' 

'Soap?' said Lord Fleetwood. 

'Soap — at least, in my chamber.' 

'Fetch it, please.' 



84 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Sir Meeson, of course, could not hear that. He re- 
quested the waiter to show the gentleman to a room. 

Lord Fleetwood ordered the waiter to bring a hand- 
basin and towel. 'We're oJEf directly and must eat at 
once,' he said. 

'Soap — soap! my dear Fleetwood,' Sir Meeson 
knuckled on the table, to impress it that his appetite 
and his gorge demanded a thorough cleansing of those 
fingers, if they were to sit at one board. 

'Let the waiter fetch it.' 

'The soap is in my portmanteau.' 

'You spoke of it as a necessity for this gentleman and 
me. Bring it.' 

Woodseer had risen. Lord Fleetwood motioned him 
down. He kept an eye dead as marble on Corby, who 
muttered: 'You can't mean that you ask me . . .?' 
But the alternative was forced on Sir Meeson by too 
strong a power of the implacable eye; there was thunder 
in it, a continuity of gaze forcefuller than repetitions of 
the word. He knew Lord Fleetwood. Men privileged 
to attend on him were dogs to the flinty young despot: 
they were sure to be called upon to expiate the faintest 
offence to him. He had hastily to consider, that he 
was banished beyond appeal, with the whole torture of 
banishment to an adorer of the Countess Livia, or else 
the mad behest must be obeyed. He protested, shrugged, 
sat fast, and sprang up, remarking, that he went with all 
the willingness imaginable. It could not have been the 
first occasion. 

He was affecting the excessively obsequious when he 
came back bearing his metal soap-case. The perform-, 
ance was checked by another look solid as shot, and as 
quick. Woodseer, who would have done for Sir Meeson 
Corby or Lazarus what had been done for him, thought 
little of the service, but so intense a peremptoriness in 



ENCOUNTER OF TWO STRANGE MEN 85 

the look of an eye made him uncomfortable in his own 
sense of independence. The humblest citizen of a free 
nation has that warning at some notable exhibition of 
tyranny in a neighbouring State : it acts like a concussion 
of the air. 

Lord Fleetwood led an easy dialogue with him and 
Sir Meeson, on their different themes immediately, 
which was not less impressive to an observer. He 
listened to Sir Meeson's entreaties that he should start 
at once for Baden, and appeared to pity the poor gentle- 
man, condemned by his office to hang about him in 
terror of his liege lady's displeasure. Presently, near 
the close of the meal, drawing a ring from his finger, he 
handed it to the baronet, and said, ' Give her that. She 
knows I shall follow that.' He added to himself: — I 
shall have ill-luck till I have it back ! and he asked 
Woodseer whether he put faith in the virtue of talismans. 

'I have never possessed one,' said Woidseer, with his 
natural frankness. 'It would have gone long before 
this for a night's lodging.' 

Sir Meeson heard him, and instantly urged Lord 
Fleetwood not to think of dismissing his man Francis. 
' I beg it, Fleetwood ! I beg you to take the man. Her 
ladyship will receive me badly, ring or no ring, if she 
hears of your being left alone. I really can't present 
myself. I shall not go, not go. I say no.' 

'Stay, then,' said Fleetwood. 

He turned to Woodseer with an air of deference, 
and requested the privilege of glancing at his note- 
book again, and scanned it closely at one of the pages. 
'I believe it true,' he cried; 'I had a half recollection 
of it — I have had some such thought, but never could 
put it in words. You have thought deeply.' 

' That is only a surface thought, or common reflection,' 
sai^ Woodseer. 



86 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Sir Meeson stared at them in turn. Judging by their 
talk and the effect produced on the earl, he took Wood- 
seer for a sort of conjuror. 

It was his duty to utter a warning. 

He drew Fleetwood aside. A word was whispered, 
and they broke asunder with a snap. Francis was called. 
His master gave him his keys, and despatched him into 
the town to purchase a knapsack or bag for the outfit 
of a jolly beggar. The prospect delighted Lord Fleet- 
wood. He sang notes from the deep chest, flaunting 
like an opera brigand, and contemplating his wretched 
satellite's indecision with brimming amusement. 

'Remember, we fight for our money. I carry mine,' 
he said to Woodseer. 

'Wouldn't it be expedient, Fleetwood . . .' Sir 
Meeson suggested a treasurer in the person of himself. 

' Not a florin, Corby ! I should find it all gambled 
away at Baden.' 

' But I am not Abrane, I 'm not Abrane ! I never play, 
I have no mania, none. It would be prudent, Fleetwood.' 

'The slightest bulging of a pocket would show on 
you, Corby; and they would be at you, they would 
fall on you and pluck you to have another fling. I 'd 
rather my money should go to a knight of the road than 
feed that dragon's jaw. A highwayman seems an honest 
fellow compared with your honourable corporation of 
fly-catchers. I could surrender to him with some satis- 
faction after a trial of the better man. I 've tried these 
tables, and couldn't stir a pulse. Have you?' 

It had to be explained to Woodseer what was meant 
by trying the tables. 'Not I,' said he, in strong con- 
tempt of the queer allurement. 

Lord Fleetwood studied him half a minute, as if 
measuring and discarding a suspicion of the young 
philosopher's possible weakness under temptation. 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 87 

Sir Meeson Corby accompanied the oddly assorted 
couple through the town and a short way along the 
road to the mountain, for the sake of quieting his con- 
science upon the subject of his leaving them together. 
He could not have sat down a second time at a table 
with those hands. He said it : — he could not have done 
the thing. So the best he could do was to let them go. 
Like many of his class, he had a mind open to the effect 
of striking contrasts, and the spectacle of the wealthiest 
nobleman in Great Britain tramping the road, pack on 
back, with a young nobody for his comrade, a total 
stranger, who might be a cut-throat, and was avowedly 
next to a mendicant, charged him with quantities of 
inter] ectory matter, that he caught himself firing to the 
foreign people on the highway. Hundreds of thousands 
a year, and tramping it like a pedlar, with a beggar for 
his friend ! He would have given something to have 
an English ear near him as he watched them rounding 
under the mountain they were about to climb. 



CHAPTER IX 

CONCERNING THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE AND THE 
WORSHIP OF HER, TOGETHER WITH AN INTRODUCTION 
OF SOME OF HER VOTARIES 

In those early days of Fortune's pregnant a,lternations 
of colour between the Red and the Black, exhibited 
publicly, as it were a petroleum spring of the ebony- 
fiery lake below, Black-Forest Baden was the sprightliest 
of the ante-chambers of Hades. Thither in the ripe- 
ness of the year trooped the devotees of the sable goddess 
to perform sacrifice; and annually among them the 



88 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

beautiful Livia, the Countess of Fleetwood ; for nowhere 
else had she sensation of the perfect repose which is 
rocked to a slumber by gales. 

She was not of the creatures who are excited by an 
atmosphere of excitement ; she took it as the nymph of 
the stream her native wave, and swam on the flood with 
expansive languor, happy to have the master passions 
about her ; one or two of which her dainty hand caressed, 
fearless of a sting; the lady petted them as her swans. 
It surprised her to a gentle contempt of men and women, 
that they should be ruffled either by love or play. A 
withholding from the scene will naturally arouse disturb- 
ing wishes; but to be present lulls; for then we live, 
we are in our element. And who could expect, what 
sane person can desire, perpetual good luck? Fortune, 
the goddess, and young Love, too, are divine in their 
mutability: and Fortune would resemble a humdrum 
housewife. Love a droning husband, if constancy were 
practised by them. Observe the staggering and plunging 
of the blindfold wretch seeking to be persuaded of their 
faithfulness. 

She could make for herself a quiet centre in the heart 
of the whirlwind, but the whirlwind was required. The 
clustered lights at the corner of the vale under forest 
hills, the burst of music, the blazing windows of the 
saloons of the Furies, and the gamblers advancing and 
retreating, with their totally opposite views of conse- 
quences, and fashions of wearing or tearing the mask; 
and closer, the figures shifting up and down the prom- 
enade, known and unknown faces, and the histories 
half known, half woven, weaving fast, which flew their 
threads to provoke speculation; pleasantly embraced 
and diverted the cool-blooded lady surrounded by her 
courtiers, who could upon occasion supply the luminous 
clue or anecdote. She had an intuitive liveliness to 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 89 

detect interchanges of eyes, the shuttle of intrigue; the 
mild hypocrisy, the clever audacity, the suspicion con- 
firmed, the complication threatening to become resonant 
and terrible; and the old crossing the young and the 
young outwitting the' old, wiles of fair traitors and 
dark, knaves of all suits of the pack. A more intimate 
acquaintance with their lineaments inspired a regard 
for them, such as poets may feign the throned high 
moon to entertain for objects causing her rays to flash. 

The simple fools, performing in character, were a 
neutral people, grotesques and arabesques wreathed 
about the margins of the scene. Venus or Fortune 
smote them to a relievo distinguishing one from another. 
Here, however, as elsewhere, the core of interest was 
with the serious population, the lovers and the players 
in earnest, who stood round the furnace and pitched 
themselves into it, not always under a miscalculation 
of their chances of emerging transfigured instead of 
serving for fuel. These, the tragical children of folly, 
were astute : they played with lightning, and they knew 
the conditions of the game; victories were to be had. 

The ulterior conditions of the game, the price paid 
for a victory, they thought little of: for they were 
feverish worshippers of the phantasmal deity called the 
Present ; a god reigning over the Past, appreciable only 
in the Future ; whose whiff of actual being is composed 
of the embryo idea of the union of these two periods. 
Still he is occasionally a benevolent god to the appe- 
tites ; which have but to be continuous to establish him 
in permanence ; and as nothing in us ,more readily sup- 
poses perpetuity than the appetite rushing to destroy 
itself, the rational nature of the most universal worship 
on earth is perceived at once. 

Now, the price paid for a victory is this : that having 
been favoured in a single instance by the spouse of the 



90 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

aforesaid eminent divinity — the Black Goddess of the 
golden fringes — men believe in her for ever after, behold 
her everywhere, they belong to her. Their faith as to 
sowing and reaping has gone ; and so has their capacity 
to see the actual as it is : she has the power to attach 
them to her skirts the more by rewarding their impas- 
sioned devotion with cuffs and scorns. They have 
ceased to have a first notion upon anything without a 
second haunting it, which directs them to propitiate 
Fortune. 

But I am reminded by the convulsions of Dame Gossip, 
that the wisdom of our ancestors makes it a mere hammer- 
ing of commonplace to insist on such reflections. Many 
of them, indeed, took the union of the Black Goddess 
and the Rosy Present for the composition of the very 
Arch-Fiend. Some had a shot at the strange conjecture, 
figuring her as tired of men in the end and challengeing 
him below — equally tired of his easy conquests of men 
since the glorious old times of the duelling saints. By 
virtue of his one incorrigible weakness, which we know 
him to have as long as we have it ourselves : viz., the 
belief in her existence, she is to get the better of him. 

Upon this point the experience of Captain Abrane 
has a value. Livia was a follower of the Red and Black 
and the rounding ball in the person of the giant captain, 
through whom she received her succession of sweetly 
teasing thrills and shocks, as one of the adventurous 
company they formed together. The place was known 
to him as the fair Philistine to another muscular hero; 
he had been shorn there before, and sent forth tottering, 
treating the friends he met as pillars to fall with him; 
and when the operation was done thoroughly, he pro- 
nounced himself refreshed by it, like a more sensible 
Samson, the cooler for his clipping. Then it was that 
he relapsed undistractedly upon processes of his mind : 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 91 

and he often said he thought Fortune would beat the 
devih 

Her power is shown in the moving of her solicitors 
to think, instantly after they have made their cast, that 
the reverse of it was what they intended. It comes as 
though she had withdrawn the bandage from her fore- 
head and dropped a leaden glance on them, like a great 
dame angry to have her signal misinterpreted. Well, 
then, distinguished by the goddess in such a manner, we 
have it proved to us how she wished to favour : for the 
reverse wins, and we who are pinched blame not her 
cruelty but our blind folly. This is true worship. Hence- 
forth the pain of her nip is mingled with the dream of 
her kiss ; between the positive and the imagined of her 
we remain confused until the purse is an empty body on 
a gallows, honour too, perhaps. 

Captain Abrane was one of the Countess Livia's 
numerous courtiers on the border of the promenade 
under the lighted saloons. A colossus inactive, he had 
little to say among the chattering circle; for when 
seated, cards were wanted to animate him : and he 
looked entirely out of place and unfitted, like a great 
vessel's figure-head in a shipwright's yard. 

She murmured : ' Not this evening ? ' 

Abrane quoted promptly a line of nursery song: 
'How shall he cut it without e'er a knife?' 

'Have we run it down so low?' said she, with no 
reproach in her tone. 

The captain shrugged over his clean abyss, where 
nothing was. 

Yesterday their bank presented matronly proportions. 
But an importuned goddess reduces the most voluminous 
to bare stitches within a few winks of an eye. 

Livia turned to a French gentleman of her court, 
M. de St. Ombre, and pursued a conversation. He 



92 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

was a stately cavalier of the Gallicized Frankish out- 
lines, ready, but grave in his bearing, grave in his de- 
livery, trimly moustached, with a Guise beard. 

His profound internal question relating to this un- 
English beauty of the British Isles : — had she no passion 
in her nature? was not convinced by her apparent 
insensibility to Fortune's whips. 

Sir Meeson Corby inserted a word of Bull French out 
of place from time to time. 

As it might be necessary to lean on the little man for 
weapons of war, supposing Lord Fleetwood delayed his 
arrival yet another day, Livia was indulgent. She as- 
sisted him to think that he spoke the foreign tongue. 

Mention of Lord Fleetwood set Sir Meeson harping 
again on his alarms, in consideration of the vagabond 
object of the young lord had roamed away with. 

'You forget that Russett has gypsy in him: Welsh! 
it 's about the same,' said Livia. 'He can take excellent 
care of himself and his purse.' 

'Countess, he is a good six days overdue.' 

'He will be in time for the ball at the Schloss.' 

Sir Meeson Corby produced an aspect of the word 
'if,' so perkily, that the dejected Captain Abrane laughed 
outright and gave him double reason to fret for Lord 
Fleetwood's arrival, by saying: 'If he hangs off much 
longer, I shall have to come on you for another fifty.' 

Our two pedestrians out of Salzburg were standing 
up in the night of cloud and pines above the glittering 
pool, having made their way along the path from the 
hill anciently dedicated to the god Mercury; and at 
the moment when Sir Meeson put forth his frilled wrists 
to say : ' If you had seen his hands — ^the creature Fleet- 
wood trotted off alone with ! — you 'd be a bit anxious 
too'; the young lord called his comrade to gaze 
underneath them: 'There they are, hard at it, at their 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 93 

play ! — it 's the word used for the filthiest gutter 
scramble.' 

They had come to know something of one another's 
humours; which are taken by young men for their 
characters; and should the humours please, they are 
friends, untU further humours develop, trying these 
nascent conservatives hard to suit them to their moods 
as well as the accustomed. Lord Fleetwood had dis- 
covered in his companion, besides the spirit of inde- 
pendence and the powers of thought impressed on him 
by Woodseer's precocious flashes, a broad playfulness, 
that trenched on buffoonery; it astonished, amused, 
and relieved him, loosening the spell of reverence cast 
over him by one who could so wonderfully illumine his 
brain. Prone to admire and bend the knee where he 
admired, he chafed at subjection, unless he had the par- 
ticular spell constantly renewed. A tone in him once or 
twice of late, different from the comrade's, had warned 
Woodseer to be guarded. 

Susceptible, however, of the extreme contrast between 
the gamblers below and Nature's lover beside him, 
Fleetwood returned to his enthusiasm without thinking 
it a bondage. 

'I shall never forget the walk we 've had. I have to 
thank you for the noblest of pleasures. You 've taught 
me — well, a thousand things; the things money can't 
buy. What mornings they were ! And the dead-tired 
nights ! Under the rock and up to see the snowy peak 
pink in a gap of thick mist. You were right: it made 
a crimsoning colour shine like a new idea. Up in those 
mountains one walks with the divinities, you said. It 's 
perfectly true. I shall remember I did. I have a 
treasure for life ! Now I understand where you get 
your ideas. The life we lead down there is hoggish. 
You have chosen the right. You 're right, over and 



94 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

over again, when you say, the dirty sweaters are nearer 
the angels for cleanliness than my Lord and Lady Sybarite 
out of a bath, in chemical scents. A man who thinks, 
loathes their High Society. I went through Juvenal at 
college. But you — to be sure, you add example — make 
me feel the contempt of it more. I am everlastingly 
indebted to you. Yes, I won't forget : you preach 
against the despising of anything. 

This was pleasant in Woodseer's ears, inasmuch as it 
established the young nobleman as the pupil of his 
philosophy for the conduct of life; and to fortify him, 
he replied : — 

' Set your mind on the beauty, and there '11 be no 
room for comparisons. Most of them are unjust, pre- 
cious few instructive. In this case, they spoil both 
pictures : and that scene down there rather hooks me ; 
though I prefer the Dachstein in the wane of the after- 
glow. You called it Carinthia.' 

' I did : the beautiful Gorgon, haggard Venus — ^if she 
is to be a girl!' Fleetwood rejoined. 'She looked burnt 
out — a spectre.' 

'One of the admirably damned,' said Woodseer, and 
he murmured with enjoyment: 'Between the lights — 
that 's the beauty and the tragedy of Purgatory ! ' 

His comrade fell in with the pictured idea : ' You hit 
it: — not what you called the "sublimely milky," and 
not squalid as you '11 see the faces of the gambling women 
at the tables below. Oblige me — may I beg? — don't 
clap names on the mountains we 've seen. It stamps 
guide-book on them, English tourist, horrors. We '11 
moralize over the crowds at the tables down there. On 
the whole, it 's a fairish game : you know the odds 
against you, as you don't on the Turf or the Bourse. 
Have your fling ; but don't get bitten. There 's a virus. 
I 'm not open to it. Others are.' 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 95 

Hereupon Woodseer, wishing to have his individuahty 
recognised in the universality it consented to, remarked 
on an exchequer that could not afford to lose, and a 
disposition free of the craving to win. 

These were, no doubt, good reasons for abstaining, 
and they were grand morality. They were, at the same 
time, customary phrases of the unfleshed in folly. They 
struck Fleetwood with a curious reminder of the puking 
inexperienced, whom he had seen subsequently plunge 
suicidally. He had a sharp vision of the attractive 
forces of the game; and his elemental nature exulted in 
siding with the stronger against a pretender to the 
superhuman. For Woodseer had spoken a trifle loftily, 
as quite above temptation. To see a forewarned philos- 
opher lured to try the swim on those tides, pulled 
along the current, and caught by the undertug of the 
lasher, would be fun. 

' We '11 drop down on them, find our hotel, and have 
a look at what they 're doing,' he said, and stepped. 

Woodseer would gladly have remained. The starlit 
black ridges about him and the dragon's mouth yawing 
underneath were an opposition of spiritual and mundane ; 
innocent, noxious ; exciting to the youthful philosopher. 
He had to follow, and so rapidly in the darkness that he 
stumbled and fell on an arm ; a small matter. 

Bed-chambers awaited them at the hotel, none of 
the party : and Fleetwood's man-servant was absent : 
'Gambling, the rascal!' he said. Woodseer heard the 
first note of the place in that. 

His leader was washed, neatly dressed, and knocking 
at his door very soon, impatient to be off, and he flung 
a promise of 'supper presently' to one whose modest 
purse had fallen into a debate with this lordly hostelry, 
counting that a supper and a night there would do for 
it. They hurried on to the line of promenaders, a river 



96 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of cross-currents by the side of seated groups; and the 
willowy swish of silken dresses, feminine perfumery, 
cigar-smoke, chatter, laughter, told of pleasure reigning. 

Fleetwood scanned the groups. He had seen enough 
in a moment and his face blackened. A darting waiter 
was called to him. 

He said to Woodseer, savagely, as it sounded: 'You 
shall have something to joint your bones !' What 
cause of wrath he had was past a guess : a wolf at his 
vitals bit him, hardening his handsome features. 

The waiter darted back, bearing a tray and tall glasses 
filled each with piled parti-coloured liqueurs, on the top 
of which an egg-yolk swam. Fleetwood gave example. 
Swallowing your egg, the fiery-velvet triune behind slips 
after it, in an easy milky way, like a princess's train on a 
state-march, and you are completely transformed, very 
agreeably; you have become a merry demon. 'Well, 
yes, it's next to magic,' he replied to Woodseer's aston- 
ished snigger after the draught, and explained, that it 
was a famous Viennese four-of-the-moming panacea, the 
revellers' electrical restorer. 'Now you can hold on for 
an hour or two, and then we '11 sup. At Rome?' 

'Ay! Druids to-morrow!' cried the philosopher 
bewitched. 

He found himself bowing to a most heavenly lady, 
composed of day and night in her colouring, but more 
of night, where the western edge has become a pale steel 
blade. Men were around her, forming a semi-circle. 
The world of men and women was mere timber and 
leafage to this flower of her sex, glory of her kind. How 
he behaved in her presence, he knew not ; he was beyond 
self-criticism or conscious reflection; simply the engine 
of the commixed three liqueurs, with parlous fine thoughts, 
and a sense of steaming into the infinite. 

To leave her was to have her as a moon in the heavens 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 97 

and to think of her creatively. A swarm of images 
rushed about her and away, took lustre and shade. 
She was a miracle of greyness, her eyes translucently 
grey, a dark-haired queen of the twilights; and his 
heart sprang into his brain to picture the novel beauty ; 
language became a flushed Bacchanal in a ring of dancing 
similes. Lying beside a bank of sUvery cinquefoil against 
a clear evening sky, where the planet Venus is a point of 
new and warmer light, one has the vision of her. Or 
something of Persephone rising to greet her mother, 
when our beam of day first melts through her as she kneels 
to gather an early bud of the year, would be near it. 
Or there is a lake in mid-forest, that curls part in shadow 
under the foot of morning : there we have her. 

He strained to the earthly and the skyey likenesses of 
his marvel of human beauty because they bestowed her 
on him in passing. All the while, he was gazing on a 
green gaming-table. 

The gold glittered, and it heaped or it vanished. 
Contemptuous of money, beyond the limited sum for 
his needs, he gazed ; imagination was blunted in him to' 
the hot drama of the business. Moreover his mind was 
engaged in insisting that the Evening Star is not to be 
called Venus, because of certain stories; and he was 
vowed to defend his lady from any allusion to them. 
This occupied him. By degrees, the visible asserted its 
authority; his look on the coin fell to speculating. 
Oddly, too, he was often right; — the money, staked on 
the other side, would have won. He considered it rather 
a plain calculation than a guess. 

Philosophy withdrew him from his temporary interest 
in the tricks of a circling white marble ball. The chuck' 
farthing of street urchins has quite as much dignity. 
He compared the creatures dabbling over the board to 
summer flies on butcher's meat, periodically scared by a 



98 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

cloth. More in the abstract, they were snatching at a 
snapdragon bowl. It struck him, that the gamblers 
had thronged on an invitation to drink the round of 
seed-time and harvest in a gulp. Again they were 
desperate gleaners, hopping, skipping, bleeding, amid a 
whizz of scythe-blades, for small wisps of booty. Nor 
was it long before the presidency of an ancient hoary 
Goat-Satan might be perceived, with skew-eyes and 
pucker-mouth, nursing a hoof on a knee. 

Our mediaeval Enemy sat symbolical in his deformities, 
as in old Italian and Dutch thick-line engravings of him. 
He rolled a ball for souls, excited like kittens, to catch it, 
and tumbling into the dozens of vacant pits. So it 
seemed to Woodseer, whose perceptions were discoloured 
by hereditary antagonism. Had he preserved his philos- 
opher's eye, he would have known that the Hoofed 
One is too wily to show himself, owing to his ugliness. 
The Black Goddess and no other presides at her own game. 
She (it is good for us to know it) is the Power who chal- 
lenges the individual, it is he who spreads the net for the 
mass. She liquefies the brain of man; he petrifies or 
ossifies the heart. From her comes craziness, from him 
perversity : a more provocative and, on the whole, more 
contagious disease. The gambler does not seek to lead 
his fellows into perdition ; the snared of the Demon have 
pleasure in the act. Hence our naturally interested 
forecasts of the contests between them : for if he is beaten, 
as all must be at the close of an extended game with her, 
we have only to harden the brain against her allurements 
and we enter a clearer field. 

Woodseer said to Fleetwood: 'That ball has a look 
of a nymph running round and round till she changes 
to one of the Fates.' 

'We'll have a run with her,' said Fleetwood, keener 
for business than for metaphors at the moment. 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 99 

He received gold for a bank-note. Captain Abrane 
hurriedly begged a loan. Both of them threw. Neither 
of them threw on the six numbers Woodseer would 
have selected, and they lost. He stated that the number 
of 17 had won before. Abrane tried the transversal 
enclosing this favoured number. 'Of course!' he cried, 
with foul resignation and a hostile glare: the ball had 
seated itself and was grinning at him from the lowest of 
the stalls. 

Fleetwood quitted the table-numbers to throw on 
Pair; he won, won again, pushed his luck and lost, 
dragging Abrane with him. The giant varied his tone 
of acquiescence in Fortune's whims : ' Of course ! I 've 
only to fling ! Luck hangs right enough till I put down 
my stake.' 

'If the luck has gone three times, the chances . . .' 
Woodseer was rather inquiring than pronouncing: 
Lord Fleetwood cut him short. 'The chances are 
equally the contrary !' and discomposed his argumenta- 
tive mind. 

As argument in such a place was impossible, he had a 
wild idea of example — 'just to see'; and though he 
smiled, his brain was liquefying. Upon a calculation 
of the chances, merely for the humour of it, he laid a 
silver piece on the first six, which had been neglected. 
They were now blest. He laid his winnings on the 
number 17. Who would have expected it? why, the 
player, surely ! Woodseer comported himself like a 
veteran: he had proved that you can calculate the 
chances. Instead of turning in triumph to Lord Feet- 
wood, he laid gold pieces to hug the number 17, and 
ten in the centre. And it is the truth, he hoped then 
to lose and have done with it — after proving his case. 
The ball whirled, kicked, tried for seat in two, in three 
points, and entered 17. The usual temporary wonderment 



100 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

flew round the table; and this number was courted in 
dread, avoided with apprehension. 

Abrane let fly a mighty breath : ' Virgin, by Jove !' 

Success was a small matter to Gower Woodseer. He 
displayed his contempt of fortune by letting his heap of 
bank-notes lie on Impair, and he won. Abrane bade 
him say 'Maximum' in a furious whisper. He did so, 
as one at home with the word ; and winning repeatedly, 
observed to Fleetwood: 'Now I can understand what 
historians mean, in telling us of heroes rushing into the 
fray and vainly seeking death. I always thought death 
was to be had, if you were in earnest.' 

Fleetwood scrutinized the cast of his features and the 
touch of his fingers on the crispy paper. 

'Come to another of these "green fields,"' he returned 
briefly. ' The game here is child's play.' 

Urging Virgin Luck not to quit his initiatory table, 
the captain reluctantly went at their heels. Shortly 
before the tables were clad in mantles for the night, he 
reported to Livia one of the great cases of Virgin Luck; 
described it, from the silver piece to the big heap of 
notes, and drew on his envy of the fellow to sketch the 
indomitable coolness shown in following or in quitting 
a run. 'That fellow it is, Fleetwood's tag-rag; holds 
his head like a street-fiddler; Woodier or some name. 
But there's nothing to be done if we don't cultivate 
him. He must have pocketed a good three thousand 
and more. They had a quarrel about calculations of 
chances, and Fleet ran the V up his forehead at a piece 
of impudence. Fellow says some high-flying stuff; 
Fleet brightens like a Sunday chimney-sweep. If I 
believed in Black Arts, upon my word !' 

' Russett is not usually managed with ease,' the lady said. 

Her placid observation was directed on the pair then 
descending the steps. 



THE BLACK GODDESS FORTUNE 101 

'Be careful how you address this gentleman,' she 
counselled Abrane. 'The name is not Woodier, I know. 
It must be the right name or none.' 

Livia's fairest smile received them. She heard the 
captain accosting the child of luck as Mr. Woodier, 
and she made a rustle in rising to take Fleetwood's 
arm. 

'We haven't dined, we have to sup,' said he. 

'You are released at the end of the lamps. You 
redeem your ring, Russett, and I will restore it. I have 
to tell you, Henrietta is here to-morrow.' 

'She might be in a better place.' 

'The place where she is to be seen is not generally 
undervalued by men. It is not her fault that she is 
absent. The admiral was persuaded to go and attend 
those cavalry manoeuvres with the Grand Duke, to whom 
he had been civil when in command of the Mediterranean 
squadron. You know, the admiral believes he has 
military — I mean soldierly — genius; and the delusion 
may have given him wholesome exercise and helped him 
to forget his gout. So far, Henrietta will have been 
satisfied. She cannot have found much amusement 
among dusty troopers or at that court at Carlsruhe. 
Our French milliner there has helped in retarding her 
—quite against her will. She has had to choose a ball- 
dress for the raw mountain-girl they have with them, 
and get her fitted, and it 's a task ! Why take her to the 
ball? But the admiral's infatuated with this gin, 
and won't hear of her exclusion — ^because, he says, she 
understands a field of battle; and the Ducal party have 
taken to her. Ah, Russett, you should not have flown ! 
No harm, only Henrietta does require a trifle of manage- 
ment. She writes, that she is sure of you for the night 
at the Schloss.' 

'"^hy, ma'am?' 



102 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'You have given your word. "He never breaks his 
hghtest word," she says.' 

'It sounds hke the beginning of respect.' 

'The rarest thing men teach women to feel for them!' 

'A respectable love match — eh? Good Lord! — 
You '11 be civil to my friend. You have struck him to 
the dust. You have your one poetical admirer in him.' 

'I am honoured, Russett.' 

'Cleared out, I suppose? Abrane is a funnel for 
pouring into that Bank. Have your fun as you like it ! 
I shall get supplies to-morrow. By the way, you have 
that boy Cressett here. What are you doing with him ? ' 

Livia spoke of watching over him and guarding him. 

'He was at the table beside me, bursting to have a 
fling; and my friend Mr. Woodseer said, it was "Adonis 
come to spy the boar" : — the picture !' 

Prompt as bugle to the breath, Livia proposed to bet 
him fifty pounds that she would keep young Cressett 
from gambling a single louis. The pretty saying did not 
touch her. 

Fleetwood moved and bowed. Sir Meeson Corby 
simulated a petrifaction of his frame at seeing the Countess 
of Fleetwood actually partly bent with her gracious 
acknowledgement of the tramp's gawky homage. 



CHAPTER X 

SMALL CAUSES 

A CLOCK sounded one of the later morning hours of 
the night as Gower Woodseer stood at his hotel door, 
having left Fleetwood with a band of revellers. The 
night was now clear. Stars were low over the ridge of 



SMALL CAUSES 103 

pines, dropped to a league of our strange world to record 
the doings. Beneath this roof lay the starry She. He 
was elected to lie beneath it also : and he beheld his 
heavenly lady floating on the lull of soft white cloud 
among her sister spheres. After the way of imaginative 
young men, he had her features more accurately now she 
was hidden, and he idealized her more. He could escape 
for a time from his coil of similes and paint for himself 
the irids of her large, long, grey eyes darkly rimmed ; 
purest water-grey, lucid within the ring, beneath an arch 
of lashes. He had them fast; but then he fell to con- 
templating their exceeding rareness; and the mystery 
of the divinely grey swung a kindled fancy to the flight 
with some queen-witch of woods, of whom a youth may 
dream under the spell of twilights. East or West, among 
forest branches. 

She had these marvellous eyes and the glamour for 
men. She had not yet met a man with the poetical 
twist in the brain to prize her elementally. All ad- 
mitted the glamour; none of her courtiers were able to 
name it, even the poetical head giving it a name did not 
think of the witch in her looks as a witch in her deeds, 
a modern daughter of the mediaeval. To her giant 
squire the eyes of the lady were queer: they were unlit 
glass lamps to her French suppliant; and to the others, 
they were attractively uncommon; the charm for them 
being in her fine outlines, her stature, carriage of her 
person, and unalterable composure; particularly her 
latent daring. She had the effect on the general mind 
of a lofty crag-castle with a history. There was a whiff 
of gunpowder exciting the atmosphere in the anecdotal 
part of the history known. 

Woodseer sat for a certain time over his note-book. 
He closed it with a thrilling conceit of the right thing 
written down; such as entomologists feel when they 



104 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

have pinned the rare insect. But what is butterfly or 
beetle compared with the chiselled sentences carved out 
of air to constitute us part owner of the breathing image 
and spirit of an adored fair woman? We repeat them, 
and the act of repeating them makes her come close on 
ours, by virtue of the eagle thought in the stamped gold 
of the lines. 

Then, though she is not ever to be absolutely ours 
(and it is an impoverishing desire that she should be), 
we have beaten out the golden sentence — the essential 
she and we in one. But is it so precious after all? A 
suspicious ring of an adjective drops us on a sickening 
descent. 

The author dashed at his book, examined, approved, 
keenly enjoyed, and he murderously scratched the 
adjective. She stood better without it, as a bright 
planet star issuing from clouds, which are perhaps an 
adornment to our hackneyed moon. This done, he 
restored the book to his coat's breast-pocket, smiling 
or sneering at the rolls of bank-notes there, disdaining 
to count them. They stuffed an inner waistcoat pocket 
and his trousers also. They at any rate warranted 
that we can form a calculation of the chances, let Lord 
Fleetwood rave as he may please. 

Woodseer had caught a glimpse of the elbow-point 
of his coat when flinging it back to the chair. There 
was distinctly abrasion. Philosophers laugh at such 
things. But they must be the very ancient pallium 
philosophers, ensconced in tubs, if they pretend to 
merriment over the spectacle of nether garments gapped 
at the spot where man is most vulnerable. He got 
loose from them and held them up to the candle, and 
the rays were admitted, neither winking nor peeping. 
Serviceable old clothes, no doubt. Time had not dealt 
them the final kick before they scored a good record. 



SMALL CAUSES 105 

They dragged him, nevertheless, to a sort of confession 
of some weakness, that he could not analyze for the 
swirl of emotional thoughts in the way; and they had 
him to the ground. An eagle of the poetic becomes a 
mere squat toad through one of these pretty material 
strokes. Where then is Philosophy? But who can be 
philosopher and the fervent admirer of a glorious lady? 
Ask again, who in that frowzy garb can presume to 
think of her or stand within fifty miles of her orbit ? 

A dreary two hours brought round daylight. Wood- 
seer quitted his restless bed and entered the abjured 
habiliments, chivalrous enough to keep from denounc- 
ing them until he could cast the bad skin they now 
were to his uneasy sensations. He remembered having 
stumbled and fallen on the slope of the hill into this 
vale, and probably then the mischief had occurred: 
though a brush would have been sufficient, the slightest 
collision. Only, it was odd that the accident should 
have come to pass just previous to his introduction. How 
long antecedent was it? He belaboured his memory 
to reckon how long it was from the moment of the fall 
to the first sight of that lady. 

His window looked down on the hotel stable-yard. 
A coach-house door was open. Odd or not — and it 
certainly looked like fate — that he should be bowing 
to his lady so shortly after the mishap expelling him, 
he had to leave the place. A groom in the yard was 
hailed, and cheerily informed him he could be driven 
to Carlsruhe as soon as the coachman had finished his 
breakfast. At Carlsruhe a decent refitting might be 
obtained, and he could return from exile that very day, 
thanks to the praiseworthy early hours of brave old 
Germany. 

He had swallowed a cup of coffee with a roll of stale 
bread, in the best of moods, and entered his carriage; 



106 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he was calling the order to start when a shout surprised 
his ear : 'The fiddler bolts !' 

Captain Abrane's was the voice. About twenty 
paces behind, Abrane, Fleetwood, and one whom they 
called Chummy Potts, were wildly waving arms. Wood- 
seer could hear the captain's lowered roar: 'Race you. 
Chummy, couple of louis, catch him first !' The two 
came pelting up to the carriage abreast. 

They were belated revellers, and had been carelessly 
strolling under the pinky cloudlets bedward, after a pro- 
longed carousal with the sons and daughters of hilarious 
nations, until the apparition of Virgin Luck on the wing 
shocked all prospect of a dead fight with the tables that 
day. 

'Here, come, no, by Jove, you, Mr. Woodsir! won't 
do, not a bit ! can't let you go,' cried Abrane, as he 
puffed. ' What ! cut and run and leave us, post win- 
nings — bankers — knock your luck on the head ! What 
a fellow ! Can't let you. Countess never forgive us. 
You promised — swore it — play for her. Struck all 
aheap to hear of your play ! You 've got the trick. 
Her purse for you in my pocket. Never a fellow played 
like you. Cool as a cook over a gridiron! Comme un 
phare ! St. Ombre says — that Frenchman. You as- 
tonished the Frenchman ! And now cut and run ? 
Can't allow it. Honour of the country at stake.' 

'Hands off!' Woodseer bellowed, feeling himself a 
leaky vessel in dock, his infirmities in danger of exposure. 
'If you pull ! — what the deuce do you want? Stop !' 

'Out you come,' said the giant, and laughed at the 
fun to his friends, who were entirely harmonious when 
not violently dissenting, as is the way with Night's 
rollickers before their beds have reconciled them to the 
day-beams. 

Woodseer would have had to come and was coming; 



SMALL CAUSES 107 

he happened to say : ' Don't knock my pipe out of my 
mouth,' and touched a chord in the giant. 

'AH right; smoke your pipe/ was answered to his 
remonstrance. 

During the amnesty, Fleetwood inquired : ' Where 
are you going?' 

'For a drive, to be sure. Don't you see !' 

'You'll return?' 

'I intend to return.' 

' He 's beastly excited,' quoth Abrane. 

Fleetwood silenced him, though indeed Woodseer 
appeared suspiciously restive. 

'Step down and have a talk with me before you 
start. You 're not to go yet.' 

' I must. I 'm in a hurry.' 

'What's the hurry?' 

' I want to smoke and think.' 

'Takes a carriage on the top of the morning to smoke 
and think! Hark at that!' Abrane sang out. 'Oh, 
come along quietly, you fellow, there 's a good fellow ! 
It concerns us all, every man Jack ; we 're all bound up 
in your fortunes. Fellow with luck like yours can't 
pretend to behave independently. Out of reason !' 

'Do you give me your word you return?' said Fleet- 
wood. 

Woodseer replied : ' Very well, I do ; there, I give 
my word. Hang it ! now I know what they mean by 
"anything for a qxiiet life." Just a shake brings us 
down on that cane-bottomed chair !' 

'You return to-day?' 

'To-day, yes, yes.' 

Fleetwood signified the captive's release; and Abrane 
immediately suggested : — 

'Pop old Chummy in beside the fellow to mount 
guard.' 



108 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Potts was hustled and precipitated into the carriage 
by the pair, with whom he partook this last glimmer of 
their night's humorous extravagances, for he was an 
easy creature. The carriage drove off. 

'Keep him company !' they shouted. 

'Escort him back !' said he, nodding. 

He remarked to Woodseer: 'With your permission,' 
concerning the seat he took, and that 'a draught of 
morning air would do him good.' Then he laughed 
politely, exchanged wavy distant farewells with his 
comrades, touched a breast-pocket for his case of cigars, 
pulled forth one, obtained 'the loan of a light,' blew 
clouds and fell into the anticipated composure, quite 
understanding the case and his office. 

Both agreed as to the fine morning it was. Woodseer 
briefly assented to his keeper's reiterated encomium on 
the morning, justified on oath. A fine morning, indeed. 
' Damned if I think I ever saw so fine a morning ! ' 
Potts cried. He had no other subject of conversation 
with this hybrid: and being equally disposed for hot 
discourse or for sleep, the deprivation of the one and 
the other forced him to seek amusement in his famous 
reading of character; which was profound among the 
biped equine, jockeys, turfmen, sharpers, pugilists, 
demireps. He fronted Woodseer with square shoulders 
and wide knees, an elbow on one, a fist on the other, 
engaged in what he termed the 'prodding of his eel,' 
or 'nicking of his man,' a method of getting straight 
at the riddle of the fellow by the test of how long he 
could endure a flat mute stare and return look for look 
unblinking. The act of smoking fortifies and partly 
covers the insolence. But if by chance an equable, not 
too narrowly focussed, counterstare is met, our imper- 
tinent inquisitor may resemble the fisherman pulled into 
deep waters by his fish. Woodseer perused his man, 



SMALL CAUSES 109 

he was not attempting to fathom him: he had besides 
other stuff in his head. Potts had naught, and the 
poor particle he was wriggled under detection. 

'Tobacco before breakfast!' he said disgustedly 
tossing his cigar to the road. 'Your pipe holds on. 
Bad thing, I can tell you, that smoking on an empty 
stomach. No trainer 'd allow it, not for a whole fee or 
double. Kills your wind. Let me ask you, my good 
sir, are you going to turn? We 've sat a fairish stretch. 
I begin to want my bath and a shave, linen and coffee. 
Thirsty as a dog.' 

He heard with stupefaction, that he could alight on 
the spot, if he pleased, otherwise he would be driven 
into Carlsruhe. And now they had a lingual encounter, 
hot against cool ; but the eyes of Chummy Potts having 
been beaten, his arguments and reproaches were not 
backed by the powerful looks which are an essential 
part of such eloquence as he commanded. They fled 
from his enemy's currishly, even while he was launching 
epithets. His pathetic position subjected him to beg 
that Woodseer would direct the driver to turn, for he 
had no knowledge of 'their German lingo.' And said 
he : ' You 've nothing to laugh at, that I can see. I 'm 
at your mercy, you brute; caught in a trap. I never 
\yalk; — and the sun fit to fry a mackerel along that 
road! I apologize for abusing you; I can't do more. 
You 're an infernally clever player — there ! And, upon 
my soul, I could drink ditchwater ! But if you 're 
going in for transactions at Carlsruhe, mark my words, 
your luck's gone. Laugh as much as you like.' 

Woodseer happened to be smiling over the excellent 
reason for not turning back which inflicted the woful- 
ness. He was not without sympathy for a thirsty 
wretch, and guessing, at the sight of an avenue of limes 
to the left of the road, that a wayside inn was below. 



110 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he said: 'You can have coffee or beer in two minutes,' 
and told the driver where to pull up. 

The sight of a grey-jacketed, green-collared sports- 
man, dog at heel, crossing the flat land to the hills of 
the forest, pricked him enviously, and caused him to ask 
what change had come upon him, that he should be 
hurrying to a town for a change of clothes. Just as 
Potts was about to jump out, a carriage, with a second 
behind it, left the inn door. He rubbed a hand on his 
unshaven chin, tried a glance at his shirt-front, and 
remarking : ' It won't be any one who knows me,' stood 
to let the carriages pass. In the first were a young lady 
and a gentleman : the lady brilliantly fair, an effect of 
auburn hair and complexion, despite the signs of a storm 
that had swept them and had not cleared from her eye- 
lids. Apparently her maid, a damsel sitting straight up, 
occupied the carriage following; and this fresh-faced 
young person twice quickly and bluntly bent her head 
as she was driven by. Potts was unacquainted with 
the maid. But he knew the lady well, or well enough 
for her inattention to be the bigger puzzle. She gazed 
at the Black Forest hills in the steadiest manner, with 
eyes betraying more than they saw ; which solved part 
of the puzzle, of course. Her reasons for declining to 
see him were exposed by the presence of the gentleman 
beside her. At the same time, in so highly bred a 
girl, a defenceless exposure was unaccountable. Half 
a nod and the shade of a smile would have been 
the proper course; and her going along on the road to 
the valley seemed to say it might easily have been 
taken; except that there had evidently been a bit of 
a scene. 

Potts ranked Henrietta's beauty far above her cousin 
Livia's. He was therefore personally offended by her 
disregard of him, and her bit of a scene with the fellow 



SMALL CAUSES 111 

carrying her off did him injury on behalf of his friend 
Fleetwood. He dismissed Woodseer curtly. Thirsting 
more to gossip than to drink, he took a moody draught 
of beer at the inn, and by the aid of a conveyance,' hastily 
built of rotten planks to serve his needs, and drawn by 
a horse of the old wars,' as he reported on his arrival 
at Baden, reached that home of the maltreated innocents 
twenty minutes before the countess and her party were 
to start for lunch up the Lichtenthal. Naturally, he was 
abused for letting his bird fly: but as he was shaven, 
refreshed, and in clean linen, he could pull his shirt-cuffs 
and take seat at his breakfast-table with equanimity 
while Abrane denounced him. 

' I '11 bet you the fellow's luck has gone,' said Potts. 
' He 's no new hand and you don't think him so either. 
Fleet. I 've looked into the fellow's eye and seen a 
leery old badger at the bottom of it. Talks vile stuff. 
However, perhaps I didn't drive out on that sweltering 
Carlsruhe road for nothing.' 

He screwed a look at the earl, who sent Abrane to 
carry a message and heard the story Potts had to 
tell. 

' Henrietta Fakenham ! no mistake about her ; driv- 
ing out from a pothouse ; man beside her, military man ; 
might be a German. And, if you please, quite un- 
acquainted with your humble servant, though we were 
as close as you to me. Something went wrong in that 
pothouse. Red eyes. There had been a scene, one 
could swear. Behind the lady another carriage, and her 
maid. Never saw the girl before, and sets to bowing 
and smirking at me, as if I was the fellow of all others ! 
Comical. I made sure they were bound for this 
place. They were on the Strasburg road. No sign 
of them?' 

'You speak to me?' said Fleetwood. 



112 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Potts muttered. He had put his foot into it. 

'You have a bad habit of speaking to yourself/ Fleet- 
wood remarked, and left him. He suffered from the 
rustics he had to deal with among his class, and it was 
not needed that he should thunder at them to make his 
wrath felt. 

Livia swam in, asking: 'What has come to Russett? 
He passed me in One of his black fits.' 

The tale of the Carlsruhe road was repeated by Potts. 
She reproved him. 'How could you choose Russett for 
such a report as that ! The admiral was on the road 
behind. Henrietta — you 're sure it was she ? German 
girls have much the same colouring. The gentleman 
with her must have been one of the Court equerries. 
They were driving to some chateau or battlefield the 
admiral wanted to inspect. Good-looking man? Mili- 
tary man?' 

'Oh! the man! pretty fair, I dare say,' Potts re- 
joined. 'If it wasn't Henrietta Fakenham, I see with 
the back of my head. German girl ! The maid was a 
German girl.' 

'That may well be,' said Livia. 

She conceived the news to be of sufficient importance 
for her to countermand the drive up the Lichtenthal, 
and take the Carlsruhe road instead; for Henrietta was 
weak, and Chillon Kirby an arch-plotter, and pleader 
too, one of the desperate lovers. He was outstaying 
his leave of absence already, she believed ; he had to be 
in England. If he feared to lose Henrietta, he would 
not hesitate to carry her off. Livia knew him, and knew 
the power of his pleading with a firmer woman than 
Henrietta. 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 113 

CHAPTER XI 

THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 

Nothing to rouse alarm was discovered at Carlsruhe. 
Livia's fair cousin was there with the red-haired gaunt 
girl of the mountains; and it was frankly stated by 
Henrietta, that she had accompanied the girl a certain 
distance along the Strasburg road, for her to see the 
last of her brother Chillon on his way to England. Livia 
was not the woman to push inquiries. On that subject, 
she merely said, as soon as they were alone together: 
'You seem to have had the lion's share of the parting.' 

'Yes, we passed Mr. Chumley Potts,' was Henrietta's 
immediate answer; and her reference to him disarmed 
Livia. 

They smiled at his name transiently, but in agree- 
ment : the tattler-spout of their set was a fatal person 
to encounter, and each deemed the sudden apparition 
of him in the very early morning along the Carlsruhe 
road rather magical. 

'You place particular confidence in Russett's fidelity 
to his word, Riette — as you have been hearing yourself 
called. You should be serious by this time. Russett 
won't bear much more. I counted on the night of the 
Ball for the grand effect. You will extinguish every 
woman there — and if he is absent?' 

'I shall excuse him.' 

'You are not in a position to be so charitable. You 
ought to know your position, and yourself too, a little 
better than you do. How could you endure poverty? 
Chillon Kirby stands in his uniform, and all 's told. He 
can manoeuvre, we know. He got the admiral away to 



114 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

take him to those reviews cleverly. But is he thinking 
of your interests when he does it? He requires twenty 
years of active service to give you a roof to your head. 
I hate such allusions. But look for a moment at your 
character : you must have ordinary luxuries and pleas- 
ures, and if you were to find yourself grinding against 
common necessities — ^imagine it ! Russett is quite 
manageable. He is, trust me ! He is a gentleman ; 
he has more ability than most young men : he can do 
anything he sets his mind to do. He has his great 
estates and fortune all in his own hands. We call him 
eccentric. He is only young, with a lot of power. Add, 
he 's in love, and some one distracts him. Not love, do 
you say? — you look it. He worships. He has no 
chance given him to show himself at his best. Perhaps 
he is off again now. Will you bet me he is not?' 

'I should incline to make the bet, if I betted,' said 
Henrietta. 'His pride is in his word, and supposing 
he 's in love, it 's with his pride, which never quits 
him.' 

' There 's firmness in a man who has pride of that 
kind. You must let me take you back to Baden. I 
hold to having you with me to-day. You must make 
an appearance there. The admiral will bring us his 
Miss Kirby to-morrow, if he is bound to remain here 
to-night. There 's no harm in his bachelor dinners. 
I suspect his twinges of gout come of the prospect of 
affairs when he lands in England. Remember our bill 
with Madame Cl^mence. There won't be the ghost of 
a bank-note for me if Russett quits the field; we shall 
all be stranded.' 

Henrietta inquired: 'Does it depend on my going 
with you to-day?' 

'Consider, that he is now fancying a thousand things. 
We won't talk of the road to Paris.' 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 115 

A shot of colour swept over Henrietta. 

'I will speak to papa: — ^if he can let me go. He 
has taken to Miss Kirby.' 

'Does she taste well?' 

Henrietta debated. ' It 's impossible to dislike her. 
Oh ! she is wUd ! She knows absolutely nothing of the 
world. She can do everything we can't — or don't dare 
to try. Men would like her. Papa 's beginning to 
doat. He says she would have made a first-rate soldier. 
She fears blood as little as her morning cup of milk. 
One of the orderlies fell rather badly from a frightened 
horse close by our carriage. She was out in a moment 
and had his head on her lap, calling to papa to keep the 
carriage fast and block the way of the squadron, for 
the man's leg was hurt. I really thought we were lost. 
At these manoeuvres anything may happen, at any 
instant. Papa will follow the horse-artUlery. You 
know his vanity to be a military quite as much as a naval 
commander — ^like the Greeks and Romans, he says. We 
took the bruised man into our carriage and drove him 
to camp, Carinthia nursing him on the way.' 

' Carinthia ! She 's well fitted with her name. What 
with her name and her hair and her build and her singular 
style of attire, one wonders at her coming into civilized 
parts. She 's utterly unlike Chillon.' 

Henrietta reddened at the mention of one of her own 
thoughts in the contrasting of the pair. 

They had their points of likeness, she said. 

It did not concern Livia to hear what these were. 
Back to Baden, with means to procure the pleasant 
shocks of the galvanic battery there, was her thought; 
for she had a fear of the earl's having again departed in 
a huff at Henrietta's behaviour. 

The admiral consented that his daughter should go, 
as soon as he heard that Miss Kirby was to stay. He 



116 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had when a young man met her famous father ; he vowed 
she was the Old Buccaneer young again in petticoats 
and had made prize of an Enghsh man-of-war by storm ; 
all the profit, however, being his. This he proved with 
a courteous clasp of the girl and a show of the salute 
on her cheek, which he presumed to take at the night's 
farewell. 'She's my tonic,' he proclaimed heartily. 
She seemed to Livia somewhat unstrung and toneless. 
The separation from her brother in the morning might 
account for it. And a man of the admiral's age could 
be excused if he exalted the girl. Senility, like infancy, 
is fond of plain outlines for the laying on of its paints. 
The girl had rugged brows, a short nose, red hair; no 
young man would look at her twice. She was utterly 
unlike Chillon ! Kissing her hand to Henrietta from 
the steps of the hotel, the girl's face improved. 

Livia's little squire,. Sir Meeson Corby, ejaculated as 
they were driving down the main street, 'Fleetwood's 
tramp ! There he goes. Now see, Miss Fakenham, the 
kind of object Lord Fleetwood picks up and calls friend ! 
— calls that object friend! . . . But, what? He has 
been to a tailor and a barber !' 

'Stop the coachman. Run, tell Mr. Woodseer I wish 
him to join us,' Livia said, and Sir Meeson had to thank 
his tramp for a second indignity. He protested, he 
simulated remonstrance, — he had to go, really feeling 
a sickness. 

The singular-looking person, whose necessities or 
sense of the decencies had, unknown to himself and to 
the others, put them all in motion that day, swung 
round listening to the challenge to arms, as the puffy 
little man's delivery of the countess's message sounded. 
He was respectably clad, he thought, in the relief of his 
escape from the suit of clothes discarded, and he silently 
followed Sir Meeson's trot to the carriage. 'Should 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 117 

have mistaken you for a German to-day, sir/ the latter 
said, and trotted on. 

'A stout one,' Woodseer replied, with his happy 
indifference to his exterior. 

His dark lady's eyes were kindly overlooking, like the 
heavens. Her fair cousin, to whom he bowed, awakened 
him to a perception of the spectacle causing the slight, 
quick arrest of her look, in an astonishment not unlike 
the hiccup in speech, while her act of courtesy pro- 
ceeded. At once he was conscious of the price he paid 
for respectability, and saw the Teuton skin on the slim 
Cambrian, baggy at shoulders, baggy at seat, pinched 
at the knees, short at the heels, showing outrageously 
every spot where he ought to have been bigger or smaller. 
How accept or how reject the invitation to drive in such 
company to Baden ! 

' You 're decided enough, sir, in your play, they tell 
me,' the vindictive little baronet commented on his 
hesitation, and Woodseer sprang to the proffered vacant 
place. But he had to speak of his fly waiting for him 
at the steps of a 'certain hotel. 

'Best hotel in the town!' Sir Meeson exclaimed 
pointedly to Henrietta, reading her constraint with 
this comical object before her. It was the admiral's 
hotel they stopped at. 

'Be so good as to step down and tell the admiral he 
is to bring Madame Clemence in his carriage to-morrow ; 
and on your way, you will dismiss Mr. Woodseer's fly,' 
Livia mildly addressed her squire. He stared: again 
he had to go, muttering: 'That nondescript's footman!' 
and his mischance in being checked and crossed and 
humiliated perpetually by a dirty-fisted vagabond im- 
postor astounded him. He sent the flyman to the 
carriage for orders. 

Admiral Fakenham and Carinthia descended. Sir 



118 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Meeson heard her cry out : ' Is it you ! ' and up stood 
the pretentious lout in the German sack, affecting the 
graces of a born gentleman fresh from Paris, — bowing, 
smirking, excusing himself for something; and he 
jumped down to the young lady, he talked intimately 
with her, with a joker's air; he roused the admiral to 
an exchange of jokes, and the countess and Miss Faken- 
ham more than smiled; evidently at his remarks, un- 
observant of the preposterous figure he cut. Sir Meeson 
Corby had intimations of the disintegration of his 
country if a patent tramp burlesquing in those clothes 
could be permitted to amuse English ladies of high 
station, quite at home with them. Among the signs 
of England's downfall, this was decidedly one. What 
to think of the admiral's favourite when, having his 
arm paternally on her shoulder, she gave the tramp her 
hand at parting, and then blushed ! All that the ladies 
had to say about it was, that a spread of colour rather 
went to change the character of her face. 

Carinthia had given Woodseer her hand and reddened 
under the recollection of Chillon's words to her as they 
mounted the rise of the narrow vale, after leaving the 
lame gentleman to his tobacco on the grass below the 
rocks. Her brother might have counselled her wisely 
and was to be obeyed. Only, the great pleasure in see- 
ing the gentleman again inspired gratitude : he brought 
the scene to her; and it was alive, it chatted and it 
beckoned; it neighboured her home; she had passed it 
on her walk away from her home; the gentleman was 
her link to the mountain paths ; he was just outside an 
association with her father and mother. At least, her 
thinking of them led to him, he to them. Now that she 
had lost Chillon, no one was near to do so much. Besides, 
Chillon loved Henrietta; he was her own. His heart 
was hers and his mind his country's. This gentleman 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 119 

loved the mountains; the sight of him breathed moun- 
tain air. To see him next day was her anticipation : for 
it would be at the skirts of hilly forest land, where pine- 
trees are a noble family, different from the dusty firs of 
the weariful plains, which had tired her eyes of late. 

Baden was her first peep at the edges of the world 
since she had grown to be a young woman. She had 
but a faint idea of the significance of gambling. The 
brilliant lights, the band music, the sitting groups and 
company of promenaders were novelties ; the Ball of the 
ensuing night at the Schloss would be a wonder, she 
acknowledged in response to Henrietta, who was trying 
to understand her; and she admired her ball-dress, she 
said, looking unintelligently when she heard that she 
would be guilty of slaying numbers of gentlemen before 
the night was over. Madame CMmence thought her 
chances in that respect as good as any other young 
lady's, if only she could be got to feel interested. But 
at a word of the pine forest, and saying she intended 
to climb the hills early with the light in the morning, a 
pointed eagerness flushed Carinthia, the cold engraving 
became a picture of colour. 

She was out with the earliest light. Yesterday's part- 
ing between Chillon and Henrietta had taught her to 
know some little about love; and if her voice had been 
heeded by Chillon's beloved, it would not have been a 
parting. Her only success was to bring a flood of tears 
from Henrietta. The tears at least assured her that 
her brother's beautiful girl had no love for the other 
one, — the young nobleman of the great wealth, who was 
to be at the Ball, and had 'gone flying,' Admiral Faken- 
ham shrugged to say ; for Lord Fleetwood was nowhere 
seen. 

The much talk of him on the promenade overnight 
fetched his name to her thoughts; he scarcely touched 



120 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

a mind that her father filled when she was once again 
breathing early morning air among the stems of climb- 
ing pines, broken alleys of the low-sweeping spruce 
branches and the bare straight shafts carrying their 
heads high in the march upward. Her old father was 
arch-priest of such forest land, always recoverable to her 
there. The suggestion of mountains was enough to 
make her mind play, and her old father and she were 
aware of one another without conversing in speech. 
He pointed at things to observe ; he shared her satisfied 
hunger for the solitudes of the dumb and growing and 
wild sweet-smelling. He would not let a sorrowful 
thought backward or an apprehensive idea forward dis- 
turb the scene. A half-uprooted pine-tree stem propped 
mid-fall by standing comrades, and the downy drop to 
ground and muted scurry up the bark of long-brush 
squirrels, cocktail on the wary watch, were noticed by 
him as well as by her; even the rotting timber drift, 
bark and cones on the yellow pine needles, and the tor- 
tuous dwarf chestnut pushing level out, with a strain of 
the head up, from a crevice of mossed rock, among ivy 
and ferns; he saw what his girl saw. Power of heart 
was her conjuring magician. 

She climbed to the rock-slabs above. This was too 
easily done. The poor bit of effort excited her frame 
to desire a spice of danger, her walk was towering in 
the physical contempt of a mountain girl for petty 
lowland obstructions. And it was just then, by the 
chance of things — by the direction of events, as Dame 
Gossip believes it to be — while colour, expression, and 
her proud stature marked her from her sex, that a gentle- 
man, who was no other than Lord Fleetwood, passed 
Carinthia, coming out of the deeper pine forest. 

Some distance on, round a bend of the path, she 
was tempted to adventure by a projected forked head 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 121 

of a sturdy blunted and twisted little rock-fostered 
forest tree pushing horizontally for growth about thirty 
feet above the lower ground. She looked on it, and 
took a step down to the stem soon after. 

Fleetwood had turned and followed, merely for the final 
curious peep at an unexpected vision; he had noticed 
the singular shoot of thick timber from the rock, and the 
form of the goose-neck it rose to, the sprout of branches 
off the bill in the shape of a crest. And now a shameful 
spasm of terror seized him at sight of a g'rl doing what 
he would have dreaded to attempt. She footed coolly, 
well-balanced, upright. She seated herself. 

And there let her be. She was a German girl, ap- 
parently. She had an air of breeding, something more 
than breeding. German families of the nobles give out, 
here and there, as the Great War showed examples of, 
intrepid young women, who have the sharp lines of 
character to render them independent of the graces. 
But, if a young woman out alone in the woods was hardly 
to be counted among the well-born, she held rank above 
them. Her face and bearing might really be taken to 
symbolize the forest life. She was as individual a 
representative as the Tragic and Comic masks, and 
should be got to stand between them for sign of the 
naturally straight-growing untrained, a noble daughter 
of the woods. 

Not comparable to Henrietta in feminine beauty, she 
was on an upper plateau, where questions as to beauty 
are answered by other than the shallow aspect of a girl. 
But would Henrietta eclipse her if they were side by 
side? Fleetwood recalled the strange girl's face. There 
was in it a savage poignancy in serenity unexampled 
among women — or modern women. One might imagine 
an apotheosis of a militant young princess of Goths or 
Vandals, the glow of blessedness awakening her martial 



122 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

ardours through the languor of the grave : — Woodseer 
would comprehend and hit on the exact image to portray 
her in a moment, Fleetwood thought, and longed for that 
fellow. 

He walked hurriedly back to the stunted rock tree. 
The damsel had vanished. He glanced below. She had 
not fallen. He longed to tell Woodseer he had seen a 
sort of Carinthia — a sister, cousin, one of the family. 
A single glimpse of her had raised him out of his grov- 
elling perturbations, cooled and strengthened him, more 
than diverting the course of the poison Henrietta infused, 
and to which it disgraced him to be so subject. He took 
love unmanfuUy ; ' the passion struck at his weakness ; 
in wrath at the humiliation, if only to revenge himself 
for that, he could be fiendish; he knew it, and loathed 
the desired fair creature who caused and exposed to him 
these cracks in his nature, whence there came a brimstone 
stench of the infernal pits. And he was made for better. 
Of this he was right well assured. Superior to station 
and to wealth, to all mundane advantages, he was the 
puppet of a florid puppet girl; and he had slept at the 
small inn of a village hard by, because it was intolerable 
to him to see the face that had been tearful over her 
lover's departure, and hear her praises of the man she 
trusted to keep his word, however grievously she wounded 
him. 

He was the prisoner of his word; — rather like the 
donkeys known as married men: rather more honour- 
able than most of them. He had to be present at the 
ball at the Schloss and behold his loathed Henrietta, 
suffer torture of chains to the rack, by reason of his 
having promised the bitter coquette he would be there. 
So hellish did the misery seem to him, that he was re- 
lieved by the prospect of lying a whole day long in 
loneliness with the sunshine of the woods, occasionally 



THE PRISONER OF HIS WORD 123 

conjuring up the antidote face of the wood-sprite before 
he was to undergo it. But, as he was not by nature a 
dreamer, only dreamed of the luxury of being one, he 
soon looked back with loathing on a notion of relief 
to come from the state of ruminating animal, and jumped 
up and shook off another of men's delusions — that they 
can, if they have the heart to suffer pain, deaden it with 
any semi-poetical devices, similar to those which Rufus 
Abrane's 'fiddler fellow' practised and was able to carry 
out because he had no blood. The spite of a present 
entire opposition to Woodseer's professed views made 
him exult in the thought, that the mouther of sentences 
was likely to be at work stultifying them and himself in 
the halls there below during the day. An imp of mischief 
offered consolatory sport in those halls of the Black 
Goddess; already he regarded his recent subservience 
to the conceited and tripped peripatetic philosopher as 
among the ignominies he had cast away on his road to a 
general contempt; which is the position of a supreme 
elevation for particularly sensitive young men. 

Pleasure in the scenery had gone, and the wood-sprite 
was a flitted vapour; he longed to be below there, 
observing Abrane and Potts and the philosopher con- 
founded, and the legible placidity of Countess Livia. 
Nevertheless, he hung aloft, feeding where he could, 
impatient of the solitudes, till night, when, according to 
his guess, the ladies were at their robing. 

Half the fun was over: but the tale of it, narrated 
in turn by Abrane and his Chummy Potts on the prom- 
enade, was a very good half. The fiddler had played 
for the countess and handed her back her empty purse, 
with a bow and a pretty speech. Nothing had been seen 
of him since. He had lost all his own money besides. 
'As of course he would,' said Potts. 'A fellow calculat- 
ing the chances catches at a knife in the air.' 



124 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Every franc-piece he had!' cried Abrane. 'And 
how could the jackass expect to keep his luck ! Flings 
off his old suit and comes back here with a rig of German 
bags — you never saw such a figure! — Shoreditch Jew's 
holiday ! — why, of course, the luck wouldn't stand that.' 

They confessed ruefully to having backed him a 
certain distance, notwithstanding. ' He took it so coolly, 
just as if paying for goods across a counter.' 

'And he had something to bear, Braney, when you 
fell on him,' said Potts, and murmured aside : ' He can 
be smartish. Hears me call Braney Rufus, and says he, 
like a fellow — chin on his fiddle — "Captain Mountain, 
Rufus Mus'. Not bad, for a counter.'" 

Fleetwood glanced round: he could have wrung 
Woodseer's hand. He saw young Cressett instead, and 
hailed him: 'Here you are, my gallant! You shall 
flash your maiden sword to-night. When I was under 
your age by a long count, I dealt sanctimoniousness a 
flick o' the cheek, and you shall, and let 'em know you 're 
a man. Come and have your first boar-hunt along with 
me. Petticoats be hanged.' 

The boy showed some recollection of the lectures of 
his queen, but he had not the vocables for resistance to 
an imperative senior at work upon sneaking inclinations. 
' Promised Lady F. ! — do you hear him ? ' Fleetwood 
called to the couple behind; and as gamblers must 
needs be parasites, manly were the things they spoke to 
invigorate the youthful plunger and second the whim of 
their paymaster. 

At half -past eleven, the prisoner of his word entered 
under the Schloss partico, having vowed to himself on 
the way, that he would satisfy the formulas to gain release 
by a deferential bow to the great personages, and straight- 
way slip out into the heavenly starlight, thence down 
among the jolly Parisian and Viennese Bacchanals. 



HENRIETTA'S LETTER 125 

CHAPTER XII 

Henrietta's letter treating of the great event 

By the first light of an autumn morning, Henrietta sat 
at her travelling-desk, to shoot a spark into the breast 
of her lover with the story of the great event of the 
night. For there had been one, one of our biggest, 
beyond all tongues and trumpets and possible anticipa- 
tions. Wonder at it hammered on incredulity as she 
wrote it for fact, and in writing had vision of her lover's 
eyes over the page. 

' Monsieur Du Lac ! / 

'Grey Dawn. You are greeted. This, if you have 
been tardy on the journey home, will follow close on 
the heels of the prowest, I believe truest, of knights, 
and bear perhaps to his quick mind some help to the 
solution he dropped a hint of seeking. 

'The Ball in every way a success. Grand Duke and 
Duchess perfect in courtesy, not a sign of the German 
morgue. Livia splendid. Compared to Day and Night. 
But the Night eclipses the Day. A summer sea of 
dancing. Who, think you, eclipsed those two ? 

'I tell you the very truth when I say your Carinthia 
did. If you had seen her, — the "poor dear girl" you 
sigh to speak of, — with the doleful outlook on her fortunes: 
"portionless, unattractive!" Chillon, she was magical! 
You cannot ever have seen her irradiated with happiness. 
Her pleasure in the happiness of all around her was part 
of the charm. One should be a poet to describe her. 
It would task an artist to paint the rose-crystal she be- 
came when threading her way through the groups to be 



126 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

presented. This is not meant to say that she looked beauti- 
ful. It was the something above beauty — ^more unique 
and impressive — like the Alpine snow-cloak towering up 
from the flowery slopes you know so well and I a little. 

'You choose to think, is it Riette who noticed my 
simple sister so closely before . . .? for I suppose 
you to be reading this letter a second time and reflecting 
as yoii read. In the first place, acquaintance with her 
has revealed that she is not the simple person — only in 
her manner. Under the beams of subsequent events, it 
is true I see her more picturesquely. But I noticed also 
just a suspicion of the "grenadier" stride when she was 
on the march to make her curtsey. But Livia had no 
cause for chills and quivers. She was not the very strange 
bird requiring explanatory excuses; she dances excel- 
lently, and after the first dance, I noticed she minced her 
steps in the walk with her partner. She catches the tone 
readily. If not the image of her mother, she has inherited 
her mother's bent for the graces ; she needs but a small 
amount of practice. 

'Take my assurance of that; and you know who has 
critical eyes. Your anxiety may rest; she is equal to 
any station. 

'As expected by me, my Lord Tyrant appeared, 
though late, near midnight. I saw him bowing to the 
Ducal party. Papa had led your "simple sister" there. 
Next I saw the Tyrant and Carinthia conversing. Soon 
they were dancing together, talking interestedly, like 
cheerful comrades. Whatever his faults, he has the 
merit of being a man of his word. He said he v^ould 
come, he did not wish to come, and he came. 

' His word binds him — I hope not fatally ; irrevocably, 
it certainly does. There is charm of character in that. 
His autocrat airs can be forgiven to a man who so pro- 
foundly respects his word. 



HENRIETTA'S LETTER 127 

'It occurred during their third dance. Your Riette 
was not in the quadrille. O but she was a snubbed 
young woman last night ! I refrain — the examples 
are too minute for quotation. 

'A little later and he had vanished. Carinthia Kirby 
may already be written Countess of Fleetwood ! His 
hand was offered and hers demanded in plain terms. 
Her brother would not be so astounded if he had seen 
the brilliant creature she was — is, I could say ; for when 
she left me here, to go to her bed, she still wore the 
"afterglow." She tripped over to me in the ball-room 
to tell me. I might doubt, she had no doubt whatever. 
I fancied he had subjected her to some degree of trifling. 
He was in a mood. His moods are known to me. But 
no, he was precise; her report of him strikes the ear 
as credible, in spite of the marvel it insists on our 
swallowing. 

'"Lord Fleetwood had asked me to marry him." 
Neither assurance nor bashfulness; newspaper print; 
and an undoubting air of contentment. 

'Imagine me hearing it. 

'"To be his wife?" 

'"He said wife." 

'"And you replied?" 

'"I said I would." 

'"Tell me all?" 

'"He said we were plighted." 

'Now, "wife" is one of the words he abhors; and 
he loathes the hearing of a girl as "engaged." How- 
ever, "plighted" carried a likeness. 

'I pressed her: "My dear Carinthia, you thought 
him in earnest?" 

'"He was." 

'"How do you judge?" 

' " By his look when he spoke." 



128 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 



(in 



'Not by his words?" 
'I repeat them to you." 

'She has repeated them to me here m my bedroom. 
There is no variation. She remembers every syllable. 
He went so far as to urge her to say whether she would 
as willingly utter consent if they were in a church and a 
clergyman at the altar-rails. 

'That was like him. 

' She made answer : " Wherever it may be, I am bound, 
if I say yes." 

'She then adds: "He told me he joined hands with 
me." 

'"Did he repeat the word 'wife'?" 

'"He said it twice." 

'I transcribe verbatim scrupulously. There cannot 
be an error, Chillon. It seems to show, that he has 
embraced the serious meaning of the word — or seriously 
embraced the meaning, reads better. I have seen his 
lips form "wife." 

'Bui why wonder so staringly? They both love 
the mountains. Both are wildish. She was looking 
superb*. And he had seen her do a daring thing on the 
rocks on the heights in the early morning, when she 
was out by herself, unaware of a spectator, he not know- 
ing who she was; — the Fates had arranged it so. That 
was why he took to her so rapidly. So he told her. She 
likes being admired. The preparation for the meeting 
does really seem "under direction." She likes him too, 
I do think. Between her repetitions of his compliments, 
she praised his tone of voice, his features. She is ready 
to have the fullest faith in the sincerity of his offer; 
speaks without any impatience for the fulfilment. If it 
should happen, what a change in the fortunes of a girl ! — 
of more than one, possibly. 

'Now I must rest — -"eyelids fall." It will be with a 



HENRIETTA'S LETTER 129 

heart galloping. No rest for me till this letter flies. 
Good morning is my good night to you, in a world that 
has turned over.' 

Henrietta resumes : — 

' Livia will not hear of it, calls up all her pretty languor 
to put it aside. It is the same to-day as last night. 
"Why mention Russett's nonsense to me?" Carinthia 
is as quietly circumstantial as at first. She and the 
Tyrant talked of her native home. Very desirous to see 
it! means to build a mansion there! "He said it 
must be the most romantic place on earth." 

'I suppose I slept. I woke with my last line to you 
on my lips, and the great news thundering. He named 
Esslemont and his favourite — always uninhabited — 
Cader Argau. She speaks them correctly. She has 
an unfailing memory. The point is, that it is a 
memory. 

'Do not forget also — Livia is affected by her distaste 
— that he is a gentleman. He plays with his nobility. 
With his reputation of gentleman, he has never been 
known to play. You will understand the slightly hypo- 
critical air — it is not of sufficient importance for it 
to be alluded to in papa's presence — I put on with 
her. 

'Yes, I danced nearly all the dances. One, a prince- 
ling in scarlet uniform, appearing fresh from under 
earth, Prussian : a weighty young Graf in green, between 
sage and bottle, who seemed to have run off a tree in 
the forest, and was trimmed with silver like dew-drops : 
one in your Austrian white, dragon de Boheme, if I caught 
his French rightly. Others as well, a list. They have 
the accomplishment. They are drilled in it young, as 
girls are, and so few Englishmen — even English officers. 
How it may be for campaigning, you can pronounce; 
but for dancing, the pantalon collant is the perfect uniform. 



130' THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Your critical Henrietta had not to complain of her 
partners, in the absence of the one. 

'I shall be haunted by visions of Ghillon's amaze- 
ment until I hear or we meet. I serve for Carinthia's 
mouthpiece, she cannot write it, she says. It would be 
related in two copybook lines, if at all. 

'The amazement over London! The jewel hand of 
the kingdom gone in a flash, to "a raw mountain girl," 
as will be said. I can hear Lady Endor, Lady Eldritch, 
Lady Cowry. The reasonable woman should be Lady 
Arpington. I have heard her speak of your mother, 
seen by her when she was in frocks. 

'Enter the "plighted;" Poor Livia! to be made a 
dowager of by any but a damsel of the family. She 
may well ridicule "that nonsense of Russett's last night" ! 
Carinthia kisses, embraces, her brother. I am to say: 
"What Henrietta tells you is true, Chillon." She is 
contented though she has not seen him again and has not 
the look of expecting to see him. She still wears the kind 
of afterglow. 

' Ghillon's Viennese waltz was played by the band : — 
played a second time, special request, conveyed to the 
leader by Prince Ferdinand. True, most true, she 
longs to be home across the water. But be it admitted, 
that to any one loving colour, music, chivalry, the 
Island of Drab is an exile. Imagine, then, the strange 
magnetism drawing her there! Could warmer proof be 
given ? 

'Adieu. Livia's "arch-plotter" will weigh the letter 
he reads to the smallest fraction of a fraction before 
he moves a step. 

'I could leave it and come to it again and add and 
add. I foresee in Livia's mind a dread of the aforesaid 
"arch," and an interdict. So the letter must be closed, 
sealed and into the box, with the hand I still call mine, 



HENRIETTA'S LETTER 131 

though I should doubt my right if it were contested 
fervently. I am singing the waltz. 
'Adieu, 

'Ever and beyond it, 

'Your obedient Queen, 

' Henrietta. 

'P.S. — ^My Lord Tyrant has departed — as on other 
occasions. The prisoner of his word is sure to take his 
airing before he presents himself to redeem it. His 
valet is left to pay bills, fortunately for Livia. She 
entrusted her purse yesterday to a man picked up on 
the road by my lord, that he might play for her. Captain 
Abrane assured her he had a star, and Mr. Potts thought 
him a rusS compere, an adept of those dreadful gambling 
tables. Why will she continue to play ! The purse was 
returned to her, without so much as a piece of silver in 
it ; the man has flown. Sir M. Corby says, he is a man 
whose hands betray him — or did to Sir M. ; expects 
to see him one day on the wrong side of the criminal bar. 
He struck me as not being worse than absurd. He was, 
in any case, an unfit companion, and our C. would help 
to rescue the Eccentric from such complicating associates. 
I see worlds of good she may do. Happily, he is no 
slave of the vice of gambling; so she would not suffer 
that anxiety. I wish it could be subjoined, that he has 
no malicious pleasure in misleading others. Livia is 
inconsolable over her pet, young Lord Cressett, whom 
he yesterday induced to "try his luck" — with the result. 
We leave, if bills are paid, in two days. Captain Abrane 
and Mr. Potts left this afternoon; just enough to carry 
them home. Papa and your blissful sister out driving. 
Riette within her four walls and signing herself, 

'The Prisoner of Chillon.' 



132 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 



CHAPTER XIII 

AN IRETTPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP IN BREACH OP 
THE CONVENTION 

'It is a dark land/ Carinthia said, on seeing our Island's 
lowered clouds in swift motion, withoug a break of their 
folds, above the sheer white cliffs. 

— She said it, we know. That poor child Carinthia 
Jane, when first she beheld Old England's shores, toss- 
ing in the packet-boat on a wild Channel sea, did say 
it and think it, for it is in the family that she did ; and 
no wonder that she should, the day being showery from 
the bed of the sun, after a frosty three days, at the close 
of autumn. We used to have an eye of our own for English 
weather before printed Meteorological Observations and 
Forecasts undertook to supplant the shepherd and the 
poacher, and the pilot with his worn brown leather tele- 
scope tucked beneath his arm. All three would have 
told you, that the end of a three days' frost in the late 
season of the year and the early, is likely to draw the 
warm winds from the Atlantic over Cornish Land's End 
and Lizard. 

Quite by chance of things, Carinthia Jane looked 
on the land of her father and mother for the first time 
under those conditions. There can be no harm in quot- 
ing her remark. Only — I have to say it — experience 
causes apprehension, that we are again to be delayed 
by descriptions, and an exposition of feelings; taken 
for granted, of course, in a serious narrative; which it 
really seems these moderns think designed for a frequent 
arrest of the actors in the story and a searching of the 
internal state of this one or that one of them : who is 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 133 

laid out stark naked and probed and expounded, like 
as in the celebrated picture by a great painter : and we, 
thirsting for events as we are, are to stop to enjoy a 
lecture on Anatomy. And all the while the windows of 
the lecture-room are rattling, if not the whole fabric 
shaking, with exterior occurrences or impatience for them 
to come to pass. Every explanation is sure to be offered 
by the course events may take; so do, in mercy, I say, 
let us bide for them. 

She thought our Island all the darker because Henri- 
etta had induced her to talk on the boat of her moun- 
tain home and her last morning there for the walk away 
with Chillon John. Soon it was to appear supernaturally 
bright, a very magician's cave for brilliancy. 

Now, this had happened — and comment on it to your- 
selves, remembering always, that Chillon John was a 
lover, and a lover has his excuses, though they will not 
obviate the penalties he may incur; and dreadful they 
were. After reading Henrietta's letter to him, he rode 
out of his Canterbury quarters across the country to the 
borders of Sussex, where his uncle Lord Levellier lived, 
on the ridge of ironstone, near the wild land of a forest, 
Croridge the name of the place. Now, Chillon John 
knew his uncle was miserly, and dreaded the prospect of 
having to support a niece in the wretched establishment 
at Lekkatts, or, as it was popularly called, Leancats; 
you can understand why. But he managed to assure 
himself he must in duty consult with the senior and chief 
member of his family on a subject of such importance 
as the proposal of marriage to his lordship's niece. 

The consultation was short: 'You will leave it to 
me,' his uncle said: and we hear of business affairs 
between them, involving payment of moneys due to the 
young man; and how, whenever he touched on them, 
Jiis uncle immediately fell back on the honour of the 



134 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

family and Carinthia Jane's reputation, her good name 
to be vindicated, and especially that there must be no 
delays, together with as close a reckoning as he could 
make of the value of Lord Fleetwood's estates in Kent 
and in Staffordshire and South Wales, and his house 
property in London. 

' He will have means to support her/ said the old lord, 
shrugging as if at his own incapacity for that burden. 

The two then went to the workshops beside a large 
pond, where there was an island bordered with birch 
trees and workmen's cottages near the main building; 
and that was an arsenal containing every kind of sword 
and lance and musket, rifle and fowling-piece and pistol, 
and more gunpowder than was, I believe, allowed by 
law. For they were engaged in inventing a new powder 
for howitzer shells, of tremendous explosive power. 

Nothing further did either of them say concerning 
the marriage. Nor did Carinthia Jane hear any mention 
of Lord Fleetwood from her brother on the landing- 
place at Dover. She was taken to Admiral Baldwin 
Fakenham's house in Hampshire; and there she re- 
mained, the delight of his life, during two months, 
patiently expecting and rebuking the unmaidenliness of 
her expectations, as honest young women in her position 
,used to do. So did they sometimes wait for years; 
they have waited until they withered into their graves, 
like the vapours of a brief winter's day: a moving 
picture of a sex restrained by modesty in those purer 
times from the taking of one step forward unless in- 
quired for. 

Two months she waited in our 'dark land.' January 
arrived, and her brother. Henrietta communicated the 
news : — 

'My Janey, you are asked by Lord Fleetwood whether 
it is your wish that he should marry you.' 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 135 

Now, usually a well-born young woman's answer, if a 
willing one, is an example of weak translation. Here 
it was the heart's native tongue, without any round- 
about, simple but direct. 

' Oh, I will, I am ready, tell him.' 

Remember, she was not speaking publicly. 

Henrietta knew the man enough to be glad he did 
not hear. She herself would have felt a little shock on 
his behalf; only, that answer suited the scheme of the 
pair of lovers. 

How far those two were innocent in not delivering 
the whole of Lord Fleetwood's message to Carinthia 
Jane through Lord Levellier, we are unable to learn. 
We may suspect the miserly nobleman of curtailing it 
for his purposes ; and such is my idea. But the answer 
would have been the same, I am sure. 

In consequence and straight away, Chillon John 
betakes him to Admiral Baldwin and informs him of 
Lord Fleetwood's proposal on the night at Baden, and 
renewal of it through the mouth of Lord Levellier, not 
communicating, however (he may really not have known), 
the story of how it had been wrung from the earl by a 
surprise movement on the part of the one-armed old 
lord, who burst out on him in the street from the ambush 
of a Club-window, where he had been stationed every 
day for a fortnight, indefatigably to watch for the passing 
of the earl, as there seemed no other way to find him. 
They say, indeed, there was a scene, judging by the result, 
and it would have been an excellent scene for the stage ; 
though the two noblemen were to all appearance politely 
exchanging their remarks. But the audience hearing 
what passes, appreciates the courteous restraint of an 
attitude so contrasting with their tempers. Behind the 
ostentation of civility, their words were daggers. 
, For it chanced, that the young earl, after a period of 



136 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

refuge at his Welsh castle, supposing, as he well might, 
that his latest mad freak of the proposal of his hand and 
title to the strange girl in a quadrille at a foreign castle 
had been forgotten by her, and the risks of annoyance 
on the subject had quite blown over, returned to town, 
happy in having done the penance for his impulsiveness, 
and got clean again — that is to say, struck off his fetters 
a,nd escaped from importunities — the very morning of 
the day when Lord Levellier sprang upon him! It 
shows the old campaigner's shrewdness in guessing where 
his prey would come, and not putting him on his guard 
by a call at his house. Out of the window he looked for 
all the hours of light during an entire fortnight. 'In 
the service of my sister's child,' he said. 'To save him 
from the cost of maintaining her,' say his enemies. At 
any rate he did it. 

He was likely to have done the worse which I suspect. 

Now, the imparting of the wonderful news to Admiral 
Baldwin Fakenham was, we read, the whiff of a tropical 
squall to lay him on his beam ends. He could not but 
doubt; and his talk was like the sails of a big ship 
rattling to the first puff of wind. He had to believe; 
and then, we read, he was for hours like a vessel rolling 
in the trough of the sea. Of course he was a disappointed 
father. Naturally his glance at the loss to Henrietta 
of the greatest prize of the matrimonial market of all 
Europe and America was vexing and saddening. Then 
he woke up to think of the fortunes of his 'other girl,' 
as he named her, and cried : 'Crinny catches him !' 

He cried it in glee and rubbed his hands. 

So thereupon, standing before him, Chillon John, from 
whom he had the news, bent to him slightly, as his 
elegant manner was, and lengthened the admiral's chaps 
with another proposal; easy, deliberate, precise, quite 
the respectful bandit, if you please, determined on having 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 137 

his daughter by all means, only much preferring the 
legal, formal, and friendly. Upon that, in the moment 
of indecision, Henrietta enters, followed by Admiral 
Baldwin's heroine, his Crinny, whom he embraced and 
kissed, congratulated and kissed again. One sees the 
contrivance to soften him. 

So it was done, down in that Hampshire household on 
the heights near the downs, whence you might behold, 
off a terra firma resembling a roll of billows, England's 
big battle-ships in line fronting the island; when they 
were a spectacle of beauty as well as power : which now 
they are no more, but will have to be, if they are both 
to float and to fight. For I have had quoted to me by 
a great admirer of the Old Buccaneer, one of the dark 
sayings in his Maxims for Men, where Captain John 
Peter Kirby commends his fellow-men to dissatisfaction 
with themselves if they have not put an end to their enemy 
handsomely. And he advises the copying of Nature in 
this; whose elements have always, he says, a pretty, 
besides a thorough, style of doing it, when they get the 
better of us; and the one by reason of the other. He 
instances the horse, the yacht, and chiefly the sword, 
for proof, that the handsomest is the most effective. 
And he prints large: 'ugly is only half way to a 
THING.' To an invention, I suppose he intends to say. 
But looking on our huge foundering sea-monsters and 
the disappearance of the unwieldy in Nature, and the 
countenances of criminals, who are, he bids us observe, 
always in the long run beaten, I seem to see a meaning 
our country might meditate on. 

So, as I said, it was done ; for Admiral Baldwin could 
refuse his Crinny nothing; as little as he would deny 
anything to himself, the heartiest of kindly hosts, fathers, 
friends. Carinthia Jane's grand good fortune covered 
that pit, the question of money, somehow, and was, we 



138 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

may conceive, a champagne wine in their reasoning 
faculties. The admiral was in debt, Henrietta had no 
heritage, Chillon John was the heir of a miserly uncle 
owing him sums and evading every application for them, 
yet they behaved as people who had the cup of golden 
wishes. Perhaps it was because Henrietta and her 
lover were so handsome a match as to make it seem to 
them and others they must marry ; and as to character, 
her father could trust her to the man of her choice more 
readily than to the wealthy young nobleman; of whose 
discreetness he had not the highest opinion. He recon- 
ciled this view with his warm feeling for the Countess 
of Fleetwood to be, by saying: 'Crinny will tame him !' 
His faith was in her dauntless bold spirit, not thinking 
of the animal she was to tame. 

Countess Livia, after receiving Henrietta's letter of 
information, descended on them and thought them each 
and all a crazed set. Love, as a motive of action for a 
woman, she considered the female's lunacy and suicide. 
Men are born subject to it, happily, and thus the balance 
between the lordly half of creation and the frail is recti- 
fied. We women dress, and smile, sigh, if you like, to 
excite the malady. But if we are the fools to share it, 
we lose our chance; instead of the queens, we are the 
slaves, and instead of a life of pleasure, we pass from 
fever to fever at a tyrant's caprice : he does rightly in 
despising us. Ay, and many a worthy woman thinks 
the same. Educated in dependency as they are, they 
come to the idea of love to snatch at it for their weapon 
of the man's weakness. For which my lord calls them 
heartless, and poets are angry with them, rightly or 
wrongly. 

It must, I fear, be admitted for a truth, that sorrow 
is the portion of young women who give the full measure 
of love to the engagement, marrying for love. At least, 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 139 

Countess Livia could declare subsequently she had fore- 
told it and warned her cousin. Not another reflection 
do you hear from me, if I must pay forfeit of my privilege 
to hurry you on past descriptions of places and anatomy 
of character and impertinent talk about philosophy — 
in a story. When we are startled and offended by the 
insinuated tracing of principal incidents to a thread-bare 
spot in the nether garments of a man of no significance, 
I lose patience. 

Henrietta's case was a secondary affair. What with 
her passion — it was nothing less — and her lover's cunning 
arts, and her father's consent given, and in truth the look 
of the two together, the dissuasion of them from union 
was as likely to keep them apart as an exhortation ad- 
dressed to magnet and needle. Countess Livia attacked 
Carinthia Jane and the admiral backing her. But the 
admiral, having given his consent to his daughter's 
marriage^ in consequence of the earl's pledged word to 
'his other girl,' had become a zealot for this marriage: 
and there was only not a grand altercation on the subject 
because Livia shunned annoyances. Alone with Carin- 
thia Jane, as she reported to Henrietta, she spoke to a 
block, that shook a head and wore a thin smUe and nursed 
its own idea of the better knowledge of Edward Russett, 
Earl of Fleetwood, gained in the run of a silly quadrille 
at a ball. 

What is a young man's word to his partner in a quad- 
rille ! 

Livia put the question, she put it twice rather sternly, 
and the girl came out with : 'Oh, he meant it !' 

The nature, the pride, the shifty and furious moods 
of Lord Fleetwood were painted frightful to her. 

She had conceived her own image of him. 

Whether to set her down as an enamoured idiot or 
a creature not a whit less artful than her brother, was 



140 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Countess Livia's debate. Her inclination was to mis- 
doubt the daughter of the Old Buccaneer: she might 
be simple, at ner age, and she certainly was ignorant; 
but she clung to her prize. Still the promise was ex- 
tracted from her, that she would not worry the earl to fulfil 
the word she supposed him to mean in its full meaning. 

The promise was unreluctantly yielded. No, she 
would not write. Admiral Fakenham, too, engaged 
to leave the matter to a man of honour. 

Meanwhile, Chillon John had taken a journey to 
Lekkatts; following which, his uncle went to London.- 
Lord Fleetwood heard that Miss Kirby kept him bound. 
He was again the fated prisoner of his word. 

And following that, not so very long, there was the 
announcement of the marriage of Chillon John Kirby- 
Levellier, Lieutenant in the King's Own Hussars, and 
Henrietta, daughter of Admiral Baldwin Fakenham. 
A county newspaper paragraph was quoted for its eulogy 
of the Beauty of Hampshire — not too strong, those 
acquainted with her thought. Interest at Court obtained 
an advancement for the bridegroom: he was gazetted 
Captain during his honeymoon, and his prospects under 
his uncle's name were considerd fair, though certain people 
said at the time, it was likely to be all he would get while 
old Lord Levellier of Leancats remained in the flesh. 

Now, as it is good for those to tell who intend pre- 
serving their taste for romance and hate anatomical 
lectures, we never can come to the exact motives of 
any extraordinary piece of conduct on the part of man 
or woman. Girls are to read, and the study of a boy 
starts from the monkey. But no literary surgeon or 
chemist shall explain positively the cause of the be- 
haviour of men and women in their relations together; 
and speaking to rescue my story, I say we must with 
due submission accept the facts. We are not a bit the 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 141 

worse for wondering at them. So it happened that 
Lord Fleetwood's reply to Lord Levellier's hammer- 
hammer by post and messenger at his door, one may 
call it, on the subject of the celebration of the marriage 
of the young Croesus and Carinthia Jane, in which there 
was demand for the fixing of a date forthwith, was de- 
spatched on the day when London had tidings of Hen- 
rietta Fakenham's wedding. 

The letter, lost for many years, turned up in the hands 
of a Kentish auctioneer, selling it on behalf of a farm- 
serving man, who had it from Lord Levellier's cook and 
housemaid, among the things she brought him as her 
wifely portion after her master's death, and this she had 
not found saleable in her husband's village at her price, 
but she had got the habit of sticking to the scraps, being 
proud of hearing it said that she had skinned Leancats 
to some profit : and her expectation proved correct after 
her own demise, for her husband putting it up at the 
auction, our relative on the mother's side, Dr. Glossop, 
interested in the documents and particulars of the story 
as he was, had it knocked down to him, ia contest with 
an agent of a London gentleman, going as high as two 
pounds ten shillings, for the sum of two pounds and 
fifteen shillings. Count the amount that makes for each 
word of a letter a marvel of brevity, considering the pur- 
port ! But Dr. Glossop was right in saying he had it 
cheap. The value of that letter may now be multiplied 
by ten : nor for that sum would he part with it. 

Thus it ran, I need not refer to it in Bundle No. 3 : 

'My Lord: I drive to your church-door on the 
fourteenth of the month at ten a.m., to keep my appoint- 
ment with Miss C. J. Kirby, if I do not blunder the initials. 
' Your lordship's obedient servant, 

' Fleetwood.' 



142 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

That letter will ever be a treasured family possession 
with us. 

That letter was dated from Lord Fleetwood's Kentish 
mansion, Esslemont, the tenth of the month. He must 
have quitted London for Esslemont, for change of scene, 
for air, the moment after the news of Henrietta's mar- 
riage. Carinthia Jane received the summons without 
transmission of the letter from her uncle on the morning 
of the twelfth. It was a peremptory summons. 

Unfortunately, Admiral Fakenham, a real knight 
and chevalier of those past times, would not let her 
mount the downs to have her farewell view of the big 
ships unaccompanied by him; and partly and largely 
in pure chivalry, no doubt; but her young idea of 
England's grandeur, as shown in her great vessels of 
war, thrilled him, too, and restored his youthful en- 
thusiasm for his noble profession or made it effervesce. 
However it was, he rode beside her and rejoiced to hear 
the young girl's talk of her father as a captain of one of 
England's thunderers, and of the cruelty of that Admir- 
alty to him : at which Admiral Baldwin laughed, but had 
not the heart to disagree with her, for he could belabour 
the Admiralty in season, cause or no cause. Altogether 
he much enjoyed the ride, notwithstanding intimations 
of the approach of 'his visitor,' as he called his attacks of 
gout. 

Riding home, however, the couple passed through a 
heavy rainfall, and the next day, when he was to drive 
with the bride to Lekkatts, gout^ the fiercest he had 
ever known, chained him fast to his bed. Such are the 
petty accidents affecting circumstances. They are the 
instruments of Destiny. 

There he lay, protesting that the ceremony could not 
possibly be for the fourteenth, because Countess Livia 
had, he now remembered, written of her engagement to 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 143 

meet Russett on the night of that day at a ball at Mrs. 
Cowper Quillett's place, Canleys, lying south of the 
Surrey hills : a house famed for its gatherings of beautiful 
women ; whither Lord Fleetwood would be sure to engage 
to go, the admiral now said; and it racked him like 
gout in his mind, and perhaps troubled his conscience 
about handing the girl to such a young man. But he was 
lying on his back, the posture for memory to play the 
fiend with us, as we read in the Book of Maxims of the 
Old Buccaneer. Admiral Baldwin wished heartily to 
be present at his Crinny's wedding ' to see her launched,' 
if wedding it was to be, and he vowed the date of the 
fourteenth, in Lord Levellier's announcement of it, must 
be an error and might be a month in advance, and ought 
to be. But it was sheer talking and raving for a solace 
to his disappointment or his anxiety. He had to let 
Carinthia Jane depart under the charge of his house- 
keeper, Mrs. Carthew, a staid excellent lady, poorly 
gifted with observation. 

Her report of the performance of the ceremony at 
Croridge village church, a half mile from Lekkatts, was 
highly reassuring to the anxious old admiral still lying 
on his back with memory and gout at their fiend's play, 
and livid forecasts hovering. He had recollected that 
there had been no allusion in Lord Levellier's message 
to settlements or any lawyer's preliminaries, and he 
raged at himself for having to own it would have been 
the first of questions on behalf of his daughter. 

'All passed off correctly,' Mrs. Carthew said. 'The 
responses of the bride and bridegroom were particularly 
articulate.' 

She was reserved upon the question of the hospitality 
of Lekkatts. The place had entertained her during 
her necessitated residence there, and honour forbade 
her to smile concordantly at the rosy admiral's mention 



144 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of Leancats. She took occasion, however, to praise the 
Earl of Fleetwood's 'eminently provident considerate- 
ness for his bride, inasmuch as he had packed a hamper 
in his vehicle,' which was a four-in-hand, driven by 
himself. 

Admiral Baldwin inquired : ' Bride inside ? ' 

He was informed: 'The Countess of Fleetwood sat 
on the box on the left of my lord.' 

She had made no moan about the absence of brides- 
maids. 

'She appeared too profoundly happy to meditate an 
instant upon deficiencies.' 

'How did the bridegroom behave?' 

'Lord Fleetwood was very methodical. He is not, 
or was not, voluntarily a talker.' 

'Blue coat, brass buttons, hot-house flower? old 
style or new?' 

' His lordship wore a rather low beaver and a buttoned 
white overcoat, not out of harmony with the bride's plain 
travelling-dress.' 

' Ah ! he 's a good whip, men say. Keeps first-rate 
stables, hacks, and bloods. Esslemont hard by will be 
the place for their honeymoon, I guess. And he 's a 
lucky dog, if he knows his luck.' 

So said Admiral Baldwin. He was proceeding to 
say more, for he had a prodigious opinion of the young 
countess and the benefit of her marriage to the British 
race. As it concerned a healthy constitution and mother- 
hood, Mrs. Carthew coughed and retired. Nor do I 
reprove either of them. The speculation and the de- 
corum are equally commendable. Masculine ideas are 
one thing; but let feminine ever be feminine, or our 
civilization perishes. 

At Croridge village church, then, — one of the smallest 
churches in the kingdom, — the ceremony was performed 



AN IRRUPTION OF MISTRESS GOSSIP 145 

and duly witnessed, names written in the vestry book, 
the clergyman's fee, the clerk, and the pew-woman, paid 
by the bridegroom. And thus we see how a pair of lovers, 
blind with the one object of lovers in view; and a miserly 
uncle, all on edge to save himself the expense of supporting 
his niece; and an idolatrous old admiral, on his back 
with gout ; conduced in turn and together to the marriage 
gradually exciting the world's wonder, till it eclipsed the 
story of the Old Buccaneer and Countess Fanny, which 
it caused to be discussed afresh. 

Mrs. Carthew remembered Carinthia Jane's last maiden 
remark and her first bridal utterance. On the way, 
walking to the church of Croridge from Lekkatts, the 
girl said : ' Going on my feet, I feel I continue the moun- 
tain walk with my brother when we left our home.' And 
after leaving the church, about to mount the coach, she 
turned to Mrs. Carthew, saying, as she embraced her: 
'A happy bride's kiss should bring some good fortune.' 
And looking down from her place on the top of the coach : 
'Adieu, dear Mrs. Carthew. • A day of glory it is to-day.' 

She must actually have had it in her sight as a day 
of glory : and it was a day of the clouds off our rainy 
quarter, similar in every way to the day of her stepping 
on English soil and sajang : ' It is a dark land.' For 
the heart is truly declared to be our colourist. A day 
having the gale in its breast, sweeping the whole country 
and bending the trees for the twigs to hiss like spray of 
the billows around our island, was a day of golden splen- 
dour to the young bride of the Earl of Fleetwood, though 
he scarcely addressed one syllable to her, and they sat 
side by side all but dumb, he like a coachman driving an 
unknown lady fare, on a morning after a night when his 
wife's tongue may have soured him for the sex. 



146 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAPTER XIV 

A PENDANT OF THE FOREGOING 

Mention has been omitted or forgotten by the worthy 
Dame, in her vagrant fowl's treatment of a story she 
cannot incubate, will not relinquish, and may ultimately 
addle, that the bridegroom, after walking with a dis- 
engaged arm from the little village church at Croridge 
to his coach and four at the cross of the roads to Lekkatts 
and the lowland, abruptly, and as one pursuing a defer- 
ential line of conduct he had prescribed to himself, asked 
his bride, what seat she would prefer. 

He shouted : 'Ines!' 

A person inside the coach appeared to be effectually 
roused. 

The glass of the window dropped. The head of a 
man emerged. It was the head of one of the barge- 
faced men of the British Isles, broad, and battered flattish, 
with sentinel eyes. 

In an instant the heavy-headed but not ill-looking 
fellow was nimble and jumped from the coach. 

'Napping, my lord,' he said. 

Heavy though the look of him might be, his feet were 
light; they flipped a bar of a hornpipe at a touch of 
the ground. Perhaps they were allowed to go with 
their instinct for the dance, that his master should have 
a sample of his wakefulness. He quenched a smirk and 
stood to take orders; clad in a flat blue cap, a brown 
overcoat, and knee-breeches, as the temporary bustle of 
his legs had revealed. 

Fleetwood heard the young lady say: 'I would 
choose, if you please, to sit beside you.' 



A PENDANT OF THE FOREGOING 147 

He gave a nod of enforced assent, glancing at the 
vacated box. 

The man inquired: 'A knee and a back for the lady 
to mount up, my lord?' 

'In !' was the smart command to him; and he popped 
in with the agility of his popping out. 

Then Carinthia made reverence to the grey lean figure 
of her uncle and kissed Mrs. Carthew. She needed no 
help to mount the coach. Fleetwood's arm was rigidly 
extended, and he did not visibly wince when this foreign 
girl sprang to the first hand-grip on the coach and 
said : ' No, my husband, I can do it ' ; unaided, was 
implied. 

Her stride from the axle of the wheel to the step 
higher would have been a graceful spectacle on Alpine 
crags. 

Fleetwood swallowed that, too, though it conjured up 
a mocking recollection of the Baden woods, and an 
astonished wild donkey preparing himself for his harness. 
A sour relish of the irony in his present position sharpened 
him to devilish enjoyment of it, as the finest form of loath- 
ing : on the principle that if we find ourselves consigned 
to the nether halls, we do well to dance drunkenly. He 
had cried for Romance — here it was ! 

He raised his hat to Mrs. Carthew and to Lord Levellier. 
Previous to the ceremony, the two noblemen had inter- 
changed the short speech of mannered duellists punc- 
tiliously courteous in the opening act. Their civility 
was maintained at the termination of the deadly work. 
The old lord's bosom thanked the young one for not 
requiring entertainment and a repast; the young lord's 
thanked the old one for a strict military demeanour at 
an execution and the abstaining from any nonsensical 
talk over the affair. 

^ couple of liveried grooms at the horses' heads ran 



148 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

and sprang to the hinder seats as soon as their master 
had taken the reins. He sounded the whip caressingly ; 
off those pretty trotters went. 

Mrs. Carthew watched them, waving to the bride. 
She was on the present occasion less than usually an 
acute or a reflective observer, owing to her admiration 
of lordly state and masculine commandership ; and 
her thought was: 'She has indeed made a brilliant 
marriage !' 

The lady thought it, notwithstanding an eccentricity 
in the wedding ceremony, such as could not but be notice- 
able. But very wealthy noblemen were commonly, 
perhaps necessarily, eccentric, for thus they proved 
themselves egregious, which the world expected them 
to be. 

Lord Levellier sounded loud eulogies of the illustrious 
driver's team. His meditation, as he subsequently 
stated to Chillon, was upon his vanquished antagonist's 
dexterity, in so conducting matters, that he had to be 
taken at once, with naught of the customary preface 
and apology for taking to himself the young lady, of 
which a handsome settlement is the memorial. 

We have to suppose, that the curious occupant of the 
coach inside aroused no curiosity in the pair of absorbed 
observers. 

Speculations regarding the chances of a fall of rain 
followed the coach until it sank and the backs of the 
two liveried grooms closed the chapter of the wedding, 
introductory to the honeymoon at Esslemont, seven 
miles distant by road, to the right of Lekkatts. It was 
out of sight that the coach turned to the left, North- 
westward. 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 149 
CHAPTER XV 

OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 

A FAMOUS maxim in the book of the Old Buccaneer, 
treating of precaution, as ' The brave man's clean con- 
science,' with sound counsel to the adventurous, has 
it:— 

' Then you sail away into the tornado, happy as a sealed 
bottle of ripe wine.' 

It should mean, that brave men entering the jaws of 
hurricanes are found to have cheerful hearts in them 
when they know they have done their best. But, touch- 
ing the picture of happiness, conceive the bounteous 
Bacchic spirit in the devoutness of a Sophocles, and 
you find comparison neighbour closely between the 
sealed wine-flask and the bride, who is being driven by 
her husband to the nest of the unknown on her marriage 
morn. 

Seated beside him, with bosom at heave and shut 
mouth, in a strange land, travelling cloud-like, rushing 
like the shower-cloud to the vale, this Carinthja, sud- 
denly wedded, passionately grateful for humbleness 
exalted, virginly sensible of treasures of love to give, 
resembled the inanimate and most inspiring ,, was mind- 
less and inexpressive, past memory, beyond the hopes, 
a thing of the thrilled blood and skylark air, since she 
laid her hand in this young man's.. His not speaking 
to her was accepted. Her blood rather than recollection 
revived their exchanges during the dance at Baden, for 
assurance that their likings were one, their aims raptu- 
rously one ; that he was she, she he, the two hearts making 
qne soul. 



150 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Could she give as much as he? It was hardly asked. 
If we feel we can give our breath of life, the strength of 
the feeling fully answers. It bubbles perpetually from 
the depth like a well-spring in tumult. Two hearts 
that make one soul do not separately count their gifts. 

For the rest, her hunger to admire disposed her to an 
absorbing sentience of his acts; the trifles, gestures, 
manner of this and that; which were seized as they 
flew, and swiftly assimilated to stamp his personality. 
Driving was the piece of skill she could not do. Her 
husband's mastery of the reins endowed him with the 
beauty of those harmonious trotters he guided and kept 
to their pace; and the humming rush of the pace, the 
smooth torrent of the brown heath-knolls and reddish 
pits and hedge-lines and grass-flats and copses pouring 
the counter-way of her advanc^, belonged to his wizardry. 
The bearing of her onward was her abandonment to him. 
Delicious as mountain air, the wind sang; it had a song 
of many voices. Quite as much as on the mountains, 
there was the keen, the blissful, nerve-knotting catch of 
the presence of danger in the steep descents, taken as if 
swallowed, without swerve or check. She was in her 
husband's hands. At times, at the pitch of a rapid 
shelving, that was like a fall, her heart went down ; and 
at the next throb exalted before it rose, not reason- 
ing why, — her confidence was in him; she was his 
comrade whatever chanced. Up over the mountain- 
peaks she had known edged moments, little heeded in 
their passage, when life is poised as a crystal pitcher 
on the head, in peril of a step. Then she had been de- 
pendent on herself. Now she had the joy of trusting 
to her hxisband. 

His hard leftward eye had view of her askant, if he 
cared to see how she bore the trial; and so relentlessly 
did he take the slopes, that the man inside pushed out 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 151 

an inquiring pate, the two grooms tightened arms across 
their chests. Her face was calmly set, wakeful, but un- 
wrinkled : the creature did not coimt among timid girls 
— or among civilized. She had got what she wanted 
from her madman — mad in his impulses, mad in his 
reading of honour. She was the sister of Henrietta's 
husband. Henrietta bore the name she had quitted. 
Could madness go beyond the marrying of the creature? 
He chafed at her containment, at her courage, her silence, 
her withholding the brazen or the fawnish look-up, either 
of which he would have hated. 

He, however, was dragged to look down. Neither 
Gorgon nor Venus, nor a mingling of them, she had 
the chasm of the face, recalling the face of his bondage, 
seen first that night at Baden. It recalled and it was 
not the face ; it was the skull of the face, or the flesh of 
the spirit. Occasionally she looked, for a twinkle or 
two, the creature or vision she had been, as if to mock 
by reminding him. She was the abhorred delusion, who 
captured him by his nerves, ensnared his word — the 
doing of a foul witch. How had it leapt from his mouth ? 
She must have worked for it. The word spoken — ^she 
must have known it — he was bound, or the detested 
Henrietta would have said : Not even true to his word ! 

To see her now, this girl, insisting to share his name, 
for a slip of his tongue, despite the warning sent her 
through her uncle, had that face much as a leaden winter 
landscape pretends to be the country radiant in colour. 
She belonged to the order of the variable animals — a 
woman indeed ! — ^womanish enough in that. There are 
men who love women — ^the idea of woman. Woman is 
their shepherdess of sheep. He loved freedom, loathed 
the subjection of a partnership; could undergo it only 
in adoration of an ineffable splendour. He had stepped 
to the altar fancying she might keep to her part of the 



152 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

contract by appearing the miracle that subdued him. 
Seen by light of day, this bitter object beside him was 
a witch without her spells; that is, the skeleton of the 
seductive, ghastliest among horrors and ironies. Let 
her have the credit of doing her work thoroughly before 
the exposure. She had done it. She might have helped 
— such was the stipulation of his mad freak in consenting 
to the bondage — yes, she might have helped to soften 
the sting of his wound. She was beside him bearing his 
name, for the perpetual pouring of an acid on the wound 
that vile Henrietta — poisoned honey of a girl ! — had dealt. 

He glanced down at his possession: — heaven and 
the yawning pit were the contrast ! Poisoned honey 
is after all honey while you eat it. Here there was 
nothing but a rocky bowl of emptiness. And who was 
she? She was the sister of Henrietta's husband. He 
was expected to embrace the sister of Henrietta's hus- 
band. Those two were on their bridal tour. 

This creature was also the daughter of an ancient 
impostor and desperado called the Old Buccaneer; a 
distinguished member of the family of the Lincolnshire 
Kirbys, boasting a present representative grimly ac- 
quitted, men said, on a trial for murder. An eminent 
alliance! Society considered the Earl of Fleetwood 
wildish, though he could manage his affairs. He and 
his lawyers had them under strict control. How of 
himself? The prize of the English marriage market 
had taken to his bosom for his winsome bride the daughter 
of the Old Buccaneer. He was to mix his blood with 
the blood of the Lincolnshire Kirbys, lying pallid under 
the hesitating acquittal of a divided jury. 

How had he come to this pass, which swung him 
round to think almost regretfully of the scorned multi- 
tude of fair besiegers in the market, some of whom had 
their unpoetic charms? 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 153 

He was renowned and unrivalled as the man of stain- 
less honour: the one living man of his word. He had 
never broken it — ^never would. There was his distinc- 
tion among the herd. In that, a man is princely above 
princes. The nobility of Edward Russett, Earl of Fleet- 
wood, surpassed the nobility of common nobles. But, 
by all that is holy, he pays for his distinction. 

The creature beside him is a franked issue of her old 
pirate of a father in one respect — ^nothing frightens her. 
There she sits; not a screw of her brows or her lips; 
and the coach rocked, they were sharp on a spill midway 
of the last descent. It rocks again. She thinks it 
scarce worth while to look up to reassure him. She is 
looking over the country. 

'Have you been used to driving?' he said. 

She replied : 'No, it is new to me on a coach.' 

Carinthia felt at once how wild the wish or half ex- 
pectation that he would resume the glowing communion 
of the night which had plighted them. 

She did not this time say 'my husband,' still it flicked 
a whip at his ears. 

She had made it more offensive, by so richly toning 
the ofiBcial title just won from him as to ring it on the 
nerves; one had to block it or be invaded. An antici- 
pation that it would certainly recur haunted every 
opening of her mouth. 

Now that it did not, he felt the gap, relieved, and yet 
pricked to imagine a mimicry of her tones, for the odd 
foreignness of the word and the sound. She had a voice 
of her own besides her courage. At the altar, her re- 
sponses had their music. No wonder: the day was 
hers. 'My husband' was a manner of saying 'my 
fish.' 

He spoke very civilly. 'Oblige me by telling me 
what name you are accustomed to answer to.' 



154 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

She seemed unaware of an Arctic husband, and re- 
plied : ' My father called me Carin — short for Carinthia. 
My mother called me Janey; my second name is Jane. 
My brother Chillon says both. Henrietta calls me 
Janey.' 

The creature appeared dead flesh to goads. But the 
name of her sister-in-law on her lips returned the stroke 
neatly. She spared him one whip, to cut him with 
another. 

' You have not informed me which of these names you 
prefer.' 

' Oh, my husband, it is as you shall please.' 

Fleetwood smartened the trot of his team, and there 
was a to-do with the rakish leaders. 

Fairies of a malignant humour in former days used 
to punish the unhappiest of the naughty men who were 
not favourites, by suddenly planting a hump on their 
backs. Off the bedevilled wretches pranced, and they 
kicked, they snorted, whinnied, rolled, galloped, outfly- 
ing the wind, but not the dismal rider. Marriage is our 
incubus now. No explanation is offered of why we are 
afiiicted; we have simply offended, or some one absent 
has offended, and we are handy. The spiteful hag of 
power ties a wife to us ; perhaps for the reason, that we 
behaved in the spirit of a better time by being chival- 
rously honourable. Wives are just as inexplicable 
curses, just as ineradicable and astonishing as humps 
imposed on shapely backs. 

Fleetwood lashed his horses until Carinthia's low 
cry of entreaty rose to surprise. That stung him. 

'Leave the coachman to his devices: we have an 
appointment and must keep it,' he said. 

'They go so willingly.' 

'Good beasts, in their way.' 

'I do not like the whip.' 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 155 

'I have the same objection.' 

They were on the level of the vale, going along a 
road between farms and mansions, meadows and garden- 
plots and park-palings. A strong warm wind drove 
the pack of clouds over the tree-tops and charged at 
the branches. English scenery, animating air; a rouse 
to the blood and the mind. Carinthia did not ask for 
hues. She had come to love of the dark land with the 
warm lifting wind, the big trees and the hedges, and 
the stately houses, and people requiring to be studied, 
who mean well and are warm somewhere below, as 
chimney-pots are, though they are so stiff. 

English people dislike endearments, she had found. 
It might be that her husband disliked any show of 
fondness. He would have to be studied very much. 
He was not like others, as Henrietta had warned her. 
From thinking of him fervidly, she was already, past 
the marvel of the thought that she called him husband. 
At the same time, a curious intimation, gathered she 
knew not whence, of the word 'husband' on a young 
wife's lips as being a foreign sound in England, advised 
her to withhold it. His behaviour was instructing her. 

'Are you weather-wise? — able to tell when the clouds 
will hold off or pelt,' he said, to be very civU to a neigh- 
bour. 

She collected her understanding, apparently; treating 
a conversational run of the tongue as a question to be 
pondered; and the horses paid for it. Ordinarily he 
was gentle with his beasts. He lashed at her in his 
heart for perverting the humanest of men. 

'Father was,' she replied. 

' Oh ! I have heard of him.' 

Her face lightened. 'Father had a great name in 
England.' 

'The Old Buccaneer, I think.' 



156 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'I do not know. He was a seaman of the navy, like 
Admiral Fakenham is. Weather at sea, weather on the 
mountains, he could foretell it always. He wrote a 
book; I have a copy you will read. It is a book of 
Maxims. He often speaks of the weather. English 
weather and women, he says. But not my mother. 
My mother he stood aside by herself — pas capricieuse 
du tout ! Because she would be out in the weather and 
brave the weather. She rode, she swam, best of any 
woman. If she could have known you, what pleasure 
for me ! Mother learnt to read mountain weather 
from father. I did it too. But sometimes on the high 
fields' upper snows it is very surprising. Father has 
been caught. Here the cloud is down near the earth 
and the strong wind keeps the rain from falling. How 
long the wind will blow I cannot guess. But you love 
the mountains. We spoke . . . And mountains' ad- 
ventures we both love. I will talk French if you like, 
for, I think, German you do not speak. I may speak 
English better than French; but I am afraid of my 
English with you.' 

'Dear me!' quoth Fleetwood, and he murmured 
politely and cursorily, attentive to his coachman busi- 
ness. She had a voice that clove the noise of the wheels, 
and she had a desire to talk — that was evident. Talk 
of her father set her prattling. It became clear also to 
his not dishonest, his impressionable mind, that her 
baby English might be natural. Or she was mildly 
playing on it, to give herself an air. 

He had no remembrance of such baby English at 
Baden. There, however, she was in a state of enthu- 
siasm — the sort of illuminated transparency they show 
at the end of fireworks. Mention of her old scapegrace 
of a father lit her up again. The girl there and the 
girl here were no doubt the same. It could not be said 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 157 

that she had duped him; he had done it for himself — 
acted on by a particular agency. This creature had 
not the capacity to dupe. He had armed a blunt- 
witted young woman with his idiocy, and she had dealt 
the stroke ; different in scarce a degree by nature from 
other young women of prey. 

But her look at times, and now and then her voice, 
gave sign that she counted on befooling him as well, to 
reconcile him to his bondage. The calculation was 
excessive. No woman had done it yet. Idiocy plunged 
him the step which reawakened understanding; and to 
keep his whole mind alert on guard against any sort 
of satisfaction with his bargain, he frankly referred 
to the cause. Not female arts, but nature's impulses, 
it was his passion for the wondrous in the look of a 
woman's face, the new morning of the idea of women 
in the look, and the peep into imaginary novel char- 
acter, did the trick of enslaving him. Call it idiocy. 
Such it was. Once acknowledged, it is not likely to 
recur. An implacable reason sits in its place, with a 
keen blade for efforts to carry the imposture further 
afield or make it agreeable. Yet, after giving his word 
to Lord Levellier, he had prodded himself to think the 
burden of this wild young woman might be absurdly 
tolerable and a laugh at the world. 

A solicitude for the animal was marked by his inquiry : 
'You are not hungry yet?' 

'Oh no, not yet,' said she, oddly enlivened. 

They had a hamper and were independent of stop- 
pages for provision, he informed her. What more 
delightful ? cried her look, seeing the first mid-day's rest 
and meal with Chillon on the walk over the mountain 
from their empty home. 

She could get up enthusiasm for a stocked hamper ! 
4nd when told of some business that drew him to a 



158 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

meadow they were nearing, she said she would be glad 
to help, if she could. 'I learn quickly, I know.' 

His head acquiesced. The daughter of the Old 
Buccaneer might learn the business quickly, perhaps; 
a singularly cutting smile was on his tight lips, in memory 
of a desire he had as a boy to join hands with an 
Amazonian damsel and be out over the world for ad- 
ventures, comrade and bride as one. Here the creature 
sat. Life is the burlesque of young dreams; or they 
precipitate us on the roar and grin of a recognized beast 
world. 

The devil possessing him gnawed so furiously that a 
partial mitigation of the pain was afforded by sight of 
waviag hats on a hUl-rise of the road. He flourished 
his whip. The hats continued at wind-mill work. It 
signified brisk news to him, and prospect of glee to 
propitiate any number of devils. 

'You will want a maid to attend on you,' he said. 

She replied : ' I am not used to attendance on me. 
Henrietta's maid would help. I did not want her. I 
had no maid at home. I can do for myself. Father 
and mother liked me to be very independent.' 

He supposed he would have to hear her spelling her 
words out next. 

The hill-top was gained; twenty paces of pretty 
trotting brought up the coach beside an inn porch, in 
the style of the finish dear to whips, and even imperative 
upon them, if they love their art. Two gentlemen 
stood in the road, and a young woman at the inn door; 
a dark-haired girl of an anxious countenance. Her 
puckers vanished at some signal from inside the coach. 

'All right, Madge; nothing to fear,' Fleetwood called 
to her, and she curtseyed. 

He alighted, saying to her, before he spoke to his 
friends : ' I 've brought him safe ; had him under my 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 159 

eye the last four and twenty hours. He '11 do the trick 
to-day. You don't bet ? ' 

' Oh ! my lord, no.' 

'Help the lady down. Out with you, Ines !' 

The light-legged barge-faced man touched ground 
capering. He was greeted 'Kit' by the pair of gentle- 
men, who shook hands with him, after he had faintly 
simulated the challenge to a jig with Madge. She 
flounced from him, holding her arms up to the lady. 
Landlord, landlady, and hostler besought the lady to 
stay for the fixing of a ladder. Carinthia stepped, 
leaped, and entered the inn, Fleetwood remarking : 
'We are very independent, Chummy Potts.' 

'Cordy bally, by Jove !' Potts cried. But the moment 
after this disengaged ejaculation, he was taken with a 
bewilderment. 'At the Opera?' he questioned of his 
perplexity. 

'No, sir, not at the Opera,' Fleetwood rejoined. 'The 
lady's last public appearance was at the altar.' 

'Sort of a suspicion of having seen her somewhere. 
Left her husband behind, has she ? ' 

'You see : she has gone in.' 

The scoring of a proposition of Euclid on the fore- 
head of Potts amused him and the other gentleman, 
who was hailed 'Mallard!' and cared nothing for prob- 
lems involving the female of man when such work was 
to the fore as the pugilistic encounter of the Earl of 
Fleetwood's chosen Kit Ines, with Lord Brailstone's 
unbeaten and well-backed Ben Todds. 

Ines had done pretty things from the age of seven- 
teen to his twenty-third year. Remarkably clever 
things they were, to be called great in the annals of 
the Ring. The point, however, was, that the pockets 
of his backers had seriously felt his latest fight. He 
received a dog's licking at the hands of Lummy Phelps, 



160 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

his inferior in skill, fighting two to one of the odds; 
and all because of his fatal addiction to the breaking 
of his trainer's imposed fast in liquids on the night 
before the battle. Right through his training, up to 
that hour, the rascal was devout ; the majority's money 
rattled all on the snug safe side. And how did he get 
at the bottle? His trainers never could say. But 
what made him turn himself into a headlong ass, when 
he had only to wait a night to sit among friends and 
worshippers drinking off his tumbler upon tumbler with 
the honours? It was past his wits to explain. Endur- 
ance of his privation had snapped in him ; or else, which 
is more likely, this Genius of the Ring was tempted by 
his genius on the summit of his perfected powers to 
believe the battle his own, and celebrate it, as became 
a victor despising the drubbed antagonist. 

In any case, he drank, and a minor man gave him 
the dog's licking. 'Went into it puffy, came out of 
it bunged,' the chronicle resounding over England ran. 
Old England read of an 'eyeless carcase' heroically 
stepping up to time for three rounds of mashing punish- 
ment. If he had won the day after all, the country 
would have been electrified. It sympathized on the 
side of his backers too much to do more than nod a 
short approval of his fortitude. To sink with flag 
flying is next to sinking the enemy. There was talk 
of a girl present at the fight, and of how she received 
the eyeless, almost faceless, carcase of her sweetheart 
Kit, and carried him away in a little donkey-cart, com- 
fortably cushioned to meet disaster. This petty in- 
cident drew the attention of the Earl of Fleetwood, 
then beginning to be known as the diamond of un- 
counted facets, patron of the pick of all departments 
of manly activity in England. 

The devotion of the girl Madge to her sweetheart 



OPENING STAGE OF THE HONEYMOON 161 

M'as really a fine story. Fleetwood touched on it to 
Mr. Mallard, speaking of it like the gentleman he could 
be, while Chumley Potts wagged impatient acquiescence 
in a romantic episode of the Ring, that kept the talk from 
the hotter theme. 

' Money 's Bank of England to-day, you think ? ' he 
interposed, and had his answer after Mallard had said : 
'The girl 's rather good-looking, too.' 

'You may double your bets. Chummy. I had the 
fellow to his tea at my dinner-table yesterday evening; 
locked him in his bedroom, and had him up and out for 
a morning spin at six. His trainer. Flipper, 's on the field, 
drove from Esslemont at nine, confident as trumps.' 

'Deuce of a good-looking girl,' Potts could now afford 
to say ; and he sang out : ' Feel fit, lucky dog ? ' 

'Concert pitch!' was the declaration of Kit Ines. 

' How about Lord Brailstone's man ? ' 

'Female partner in a quadrille, sir.' 

'Ah!' Potts doated on his limbs with a butcher's 
eye for prize joints. 

'Cock-sure has crowed low by sunset,' Mallard ob- 
served. 

Fleetwood offered him to take his bets. 

' You 're heavy on it with Brailstone ? ' said Mallard. 

'Three thousand.' 

'I 'd back you for your luck blindfold.' 

A ruffle of sourness shot over the features of the earl, 
and was noticed by both eager betters, who exchanged 
a glance. 

Potts inspected his watch, and said half aloud : ' Liver, 
ten to one ! That never meant bad luck — except bad 
to act on. We slept here last night, you know. It 's 
a mile and a quarter from the Royal Sovereign to the 
field of glory. Pretty well time to start. Brailstone 
has a drive of a couple of miles. Coaches from London 



162 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

down by this time. Abrane's dead on Ben Todds, any 
odds. Poor old Braney ! "Steady man, Todds." Backs 
him because he's a "respectable citizen," — don't drink. 
A prize-fighter total abstainer has no spurts. Old 
Braney's branded for the losing side. You might bet 
against Braney blindfold. Mallard. How long shall 
you take to polish him off. Kit Ines ? ' 

The opponent of Ben Todds calculated. 

'Well, sir, steady Benny ought to be satisfied with 
his dose in, say, about forty minutes. Maybe he won't 
own to it before an hour and ten. He 's got a proud 
English stomach.' 

' Shall we be late ? ' Potts asked. 

'Jump in,' Fleetwood said to his man. 'We may 
be five minutes after time. Chummy. I had a longer 
drive, and had to get married on the way, and — ah, 
here they are !' 

'Lady coming?' 

'I fancy she sticks to the coach; I don't know her 
tastes. Madge must see her hero through it, that 's 
positive.' 

Potts deferred his astonishment at the things he 
was hearing and seeing, which were only Fleetwood's 
riddles. The fight and the bets rang every other matter 
out of his head. He beheld the lady, who had come 
down from the coach like a columbine, mount it like 
Bean-stalk Jack. Madge was not half so clever, and 
required a hand at her elbow. 

After giving hurried directions to Rundles, the land- 
lord of the Royal Sovereign, Fleetwood took the reins, 
and all three gentlemen touched hats to the curtseying 
figure of Mrs. Rundles. 

' You have heard, I dare say — it 's an English scene,' 
he spoke, partly turning his face, to Carinthia; 'particu- 
larly select to-day. Their Majesties might look on, as the 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 163 

Caesars did in Rome. Pity we can't persuade them. They 
ought to set the fashion. Here we have the English 
people at their grandest, in prime condition, if they were 
not drunk over-night; and dogged, perfectly awake, 
magnanimous, all for fair play; fine fellows, upon my 
word. A little blood, of course.' 

But the daughter of the Old Buccaneer would have 
inherited a tenderness for the sight of blood. She 
should make a natural Lady Patroness of England's 
National Sports. We might turn her to that purpose; 
wander over England with a tail of shouting riff-raff; 
have exhibitions, join in them, display our accomplish- 
ments; issue challenges to fence, shoot, walk, run, box, 
in time : the creature has muscle. It 's one way of 
crowning a freak; we follow the direction, since the 
deed done can't be undone; and a precious poetical 
life, too ! You may get as royally intoxicated on swipes 
as on choice wine; win a name for yourself as the 
husband of such a wife; a name in sporting journals 
and shilling, biographies : quite a revival of the Peerage 
they have begun to rail at ! 

'I would not wish to leave you,' said Carinthia. 

'You have chosen,' said Fleetwood. 



CHAPTER XVI 

IN WHICH THE BRIDE FROM FOREIGN PARTS IS GIVEN 
A TASTE OP OLD ENGLAND 

Cheers at an open gate of a field saluted the familiar 
scarlet of the Earl of Fleetwood's coach in- Kentish 
land. They were chorister cheers, the spontaneous ring- 
ing out of English country hearts in homage to the 



164 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

nobleman who brightened the heaviness of Ufe on EngUsh 
land with a spectacle of the noble art distinguishing their 
fathers. He drove along over muffling turf; plough- 
boys and blue butcher-boys, and smocked old men, with 
an approach to a hundred-weight on their heels, at the 
trot to right and left ; all hoping for an occasional sight 
of the jewel called Kitty, that he carried inside. Kitty 
was there. 

Kitty's eyes are shut. Think of that: cradled inno- 
cence and angels' dreams and the whole of the hymn just 
before ding-dong-bang on noses and jaws ! That means 
confidence ? Looks like it. But Kitty 's not asleep : 
you try him. He 's only quiet because he has got to 
undergo great exertion. Last fight he was knocked out 
of time, because he went into it honest drunk, they tell. 
And the earl took him up, to give him a chance of re- 
covering his good name, and that 's Christian. But the 
earl, he knows a man as well as a horse. He 's one to 
follow. Go to a fayte down at Esslemont, you won't 
forget your day. See there, he 's brought a lady on the 
top o' the coach. That seems for to signify he don't 
expect it 's going to be much of a bloody business. But 
there 's no accounting. Anyhow, Broadfield '11 have a 
name in the papers for Sunday reading. In comes 
t' other lord's coach. They 've timed it together close, 
they have. 

They were pronounced to be both the right sort of 
noblemen for the country. Lord Brailstone's blue 
coach rattled through an eastern gate to the corner of 
the thirty-acre meadow, where Lord Fleetwood had 
drawn up, a toss from the ring. The meeting of the 
blue and scarlet coaches drew forth Old England's 
thunders; and when the costly treasures contained in 
them popped out heads, the moment was delirious. 
Kit Ines came after his head on a bound. Ben Todds 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 165 

was ostentatiously deliberate: his party said he was 
no dancing-master. He stepped out, grave as a barge 
emerging from a lock, though alive to the hurrahs of 
supporters and punctilious in returning the formal por- 
, tion of his rival's too roguish nod. Their look was 
sharp into the eyes, just an instant. 

Brailstone and Fleetwood jumped to the grass and 
met, talking and laughing, precise upon points of 
business, otherwise cordial: plenipotentiaries of great 
powers, whom they have set in motion and bind to the 
ceremonial opening steps, according to the rules of 
civilized warfare. They had a short colloquy with 
newspaper reporters ; — an absolutely fair, square, upright 
fight of Britons was to be chronicled. Captain Abrane, 
a tower in the crowd, registered bets whenever he could. 
Curricles, gigs, carts, pony-traps, boys on ponies, a 
swarm on legs, flowed to the central point and huddled 
there. 

Was either champion bom in Kent? An audacious 
boy proclaimed Kit Ines a man of Kent. Why, of 
course he was ! and that was why the Earl of Fleet- 
wood backed our cocky Kitty, and means to land him 
on the top of his profession. Ben Todds was shuffled 
aside, as one of their Londoners, destitute of county 
savour. 

All very well, but have a spy at Benny Todds. Who 
looks the square man? And hear what that big gentle- 
man of the other lord's party says. A gentleman of 
his height and weight has a right to his opinion. He 's 
dead against Kit Ines : it 's fists, not feet, he says, '11 
do it to-day; stamina, he says. Beimy has got the 
stamina. 

Todds' possession of the stamina, and the grand voice 
of Captain Abrane, and the Father Christmas, roast-beef- 
pf-Old England face of the umpire declared to be on the 



166 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

side of Lord Brailstone's colour blue, darkened the star 
of Kit Ines till a characteristic piece of behaviour was 
espied. He dashed his cap into the ring and followed 
it, with the lightest of vaults across the ropes. There he 
was, the first in the ring: and that stands for promise 
of first blow, first blood, first flat knock-down, and last 
to cry for quarter. His pair of seconds were soon after 
him. Fleetwood mounted his box. 

'Is it to fight?' said Carinthia. 

'To see which is the master.' 

'They fight to see?' 

' Generally until one or the other can't see. You are not 
obliged to see it; you can be driven away if you wish.' 

'I will be here, if you are here.' 

'You choose it.' 

Fleetwood leaned over to Chumley Potts on the turf. 
'Abrane's ruining himself.' 

Potts frankly hoped that his friend might be doing 
so. 'Todds is jolly well backed. He's in prime con- 
dition. He 's the favourite of the knowing ones.' 

' You wouldn't have the odds, if he weren't.' 

'No; but the odds are like ten per cent. : they con- 
jure the gale, and be hanged,' said Potts; he swore at 
his betting mania, which destroyed the pleasure of the 
show he loved. 

All in the ring were shaking hands. Shots of a desire 
to question and comment sped through Carinthia's veins 
and hurt her. She had gathered that she spoke foolishly 
to her husband's ear, so she kept her mouth shut, though 
the unanswered of her inquisitive ignorance in the 
strange land pricked painfully at her bosom. She heard 
the girl behind her say : 'Our colours !' when the colour 
scarlet enwound with Lord Brailstone's blue was tied 
to the stake : and her husband nodded ; he smiled ; he 
liked to hear the girl. 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 167 

Potts climbed up, crying: 'Toilets complete! Now 
for paws out, and then at it, my hearties !' 

Choice of corners under the leaden low cloud counted 
for little. A signal was given; a man outside the ring 
eyed a watch, raised a hand; the two umpires were on 
foot in their places ; the pair of opposing seconds hurried 
out cheery or bolt-business words to their men; and 
the champions advanced to the scratch. Todds first, 
by the courtesy of Ines, whose decorous control of his 
legs at a weighty moment was rightly read by his party. 

Their hands grasped firmly : thereupon becoming 
fists of a hostile couple in position. And simply, to learn 
which of us two is the better man ! Or in other words, 
with four simple fists to compass a patent fact and 
stand it on the historic pedestal, with a little red writing 
underneath : — you never can patent a fact without it. 
But mark the differences of this kind of contention from 
all other — especially the Parliamentary : this is positive, 
it has a beginning and an end ; and it is good-humoured 
from beginning to end; trial of skill, trial of stamina; 
Nature and Art; Old English; which made us what we 
are; and no rancours, no vows of vengeance; the 
beaten man of the two bowing to the bit of history he 
has helped to make. 

Kittites had need to be confident in the skill of their 
lither lad. His facer looked granite. Fronting that 
mass, Kit you might — ^not to lash about for comparisons 
— call a bundle of bamboo. Ay, but well knitted, 
springy, alive every inch of him; crafty, too, as you 
will soon bear witness. He knows he has got his task, and 
he 's the man to do it. 

There was wary sparring, and mirrors watched them. 

' Bigger fellow : but have no fear,' the earl said over 
his shoulder to Madge. 
. She said in return: 'Oh, I don't know, I 'm praying.' 



168 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Kit was now on his toes, all himself, like one who 
has found the key. He feinted. Quick as lightning, 
he landed a bolt on Ben's jib, just at the toll-bar of 
the bridge, between the eyes, and was off, out of reach, 
elastic; Ben's counter fell short by a couple of inches. 
Cheers for first blow. 

The earl clucked to Madge. Her gaze at the ring was 
a sullen intensity. 

Will you believe it? — Ben received a second spank- 
ing cracker on the spectacles-seat: neat indeed; and, 
poor payment for the compliment, he managed to dig 
a drive at the ribs. As much of that giame as may suit 
you, sturdy Ben ! But hear the shout, and behold : 
First blood to Kit Ines ! That tell-tale nose of old 
Ben's has mounted the Earl of Fleetwood's colours, and 
all his party are looking Brailstone-blue. 

'So far!' said Fleetwood. His grooms took an indi- 
cation: the hamper was unfastened; sandwiches were 
handed. Carinthia held one; she tried to nibble, in 
obedience to her husband's example. Madge refused a 
bite of food. 

Hearing Carinthia say to her : ' I hope he will not be 
beaten, I hope, I hope,' she made answer: 'You are 
very good. Miss ' ; and the young lady flushed. 

Gentlemen below were talking up to the earl. A 
Kentish squire of an estate neighbouring Esslemont 
introduced a Welsh squire he had driven to see the fun, 
by the name of Mr. Owain "^ythan, a neighbour of the 
earl's down in Wales. Refreshments were offered. 
Carinthia submissively sipped the sparkling wine, 
which stings the lips when they are indisposed to it. The 
voice of the girl Madge rang on the tightened chords of 
her breast. Madge had said she was praying : and to 
pray was all that could be done by two women. Her 
husband could laugh loudly with Mr. Potts and the 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 169 

other gentlemen and the strangers. He was quite sure 
the man he supported would win ; he might have means 
of knowing. Carinthia clung to his bare words, for the 
sake of the girl. 

A roaring peal went up from the circle of combat. 
Kit had it this time. Attacking Ben's peepers, he 
was bent on defending his own, and he caught a body- 
blow that sent him hopping back to his pair of seconds, 
five clear hops to the rear, like a smashed surge-wave 
off the rock. He was respectful for the remainder of 
the round. But hammering at the system he had 
formed, in the very next round he dropped from a tremen- 
dous repetition of the blow, and lay flat as a turbot. 
The bets against him had simultaneously a see-saw rise. 

'Bellows, he appears to have none,' was the comment 
of Chumley Potts. 

'Now for training, Chummy!' said Lord Fleetwood. 

'Chummy!' signifying a crow over Potts, rang out 
of the hollows of Captain Abrane on Lord Brailstone's 
coach. 

Carinthia put a hand behind her to Madge. It was 
grasped, in gratitude for sympathy or in feminine polite- 
ness. The girl murmured : 'I 've seen worse.' She 
was not speaking to ears. 

Lord Fleetwood sat watch in hand. 'Up,' he said; 
and, as if hearing him. Kit rose from the ministering 
second's knee. He walked stiffly, squared after the 
fashion of a man taught caution. Ben made play. 
They rounded the ring, giving and taking. Ben rushed, 
and had an emollient; spouted again and was corked; 
again, and received a neat red-waxen stopper. He would 
not be denied at Kit's door, found him at home and hugged 
him. Kit got himself to grass, after a spell of heavy 
fibbing, Ben's game. 

It did him no great harm; it might be taken for an 



170 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

enlivener ; he was dead on his favourite spot the ensuing 
round, played postman on it. So cleverly, easily, dah- 
cingly, did he perform the double knock and the retreat, 
that Chumley Potts was moved to forget his wagers and 
exclaim : 'Racket-ball, by Jove !' 

'If he doesn't let the fellow fib the wind out of him,' 
Mallard addressed his own crab eyeballs. 

Lord Fleetwood heard and said coolly: 'Tight- 
strung. I kept him fasting since he earned his break- 
fast. You don't wind an empty rascal fit for action. 
A sword through the lungs won't kill when there 's no 
air in them.' 

That was printed in the Few Words before the En- 
counter, in the Book of Maxims fob Men. Carinthia, 
hearing everything her husband uttered, burned to 
remind him of the similarity between his opinions and 
her father's. 

She was learning, that for some reason, allusions to 
her father were not acceptable. She squeezed the hand 
of Madge, and felt a pressure, like a scream, telling her 
the girl's heart was with the fight beneath them. She 
thought it natural for her. She wished she could con- 
tinue looking as intently. She looked because her hus- 
band looked. The dark hills and clouds curtaining the 
run of the stretch of fields relieved her sight. 

The clouds went their way; the hills were solid, but 
like a blue smoke; the scene here made them very 
distant and strange. Those two men were still hitting, 
not hating one another; only to gratify a number of 
unintelligible people and win a success. But the earth 
and sky seemed to say. What is the glory? They were 
insensible to it, as they are not — they are never insensible 
to noble grounds of strife. They bless the spot, they 
light lamps on it; they put it into books of history, 
make it holy, if the cause was a noble one or a good one. 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 171 

Or supposing both those men loved the girl, who loved 
one of them ! Then would Carinthia be less reluctantly 
interested in their blows. 

Her infant logic stumbled on for a reason while she 
repressed the torture the scene was becoming, as though 
a reason could be found by her submissive observation 
of it. And she was right in believing that a reason 
for the scene must or should exist. Only, like other 
bewildered instinctive believers, she could not summon 
the great universe or a life's experience to unfold it. 
Her one consolation was in squeezing the hand of the 
girl from time to time. 

Not stealthily done, it was not objected to by the 
husband whose eye was on all. But the persistence in 
doing it sank her from the benignity of her station to 
the girl's level : it was conduct much too raw, and 
grated on the deed of the man who had given her his 
name. 

Madge pleased him better. She had the right to be 
excited, and she was very little demonstrative. She 
had — ^well, in justice, the couple of them had, only she 
had it more — the tone of the women who can be screwed 
to witness a spill of blood, peculiarly catching to hear; 
— a tone of every string in them snapped except the 
silver string. Catching to hear? It is worth a stretch- 
ing of them on the rack to hear that low buzz-hum of 
their inner breast . . . By heaven! we have them at 
their best when they sing that note. 

His watch was near an hour of the contest, and Brail- 
stone's man had scored first knock-down blow, a particu- 
larly clean floorer. Thinking of that, he was cheered 
by hearing Chummy Potts, whose opinions he despised, 
cry out to Abrane : — 

'Yeast to him!' For the face of Todds was visibly 
spelling to the ripest of plums from Kit's deliveries. 



172 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Down he went. He had the sturdy legS' which are no 
legs to a clean blow. Odds were offered against him. 

'Oh! pretty play with your right, Kit!' exclaimed 
Mallard, as Kit fetched his man an ugly stroke on the 
round of the waist behind, and the crowd sent up the 
name of the great organs affected : a sickener of a stroke, 
if dealt soundly. It meant more than it showed. Kit 
was now for taking liberties. Light as ever on his pins, 
he now and then varied his attentions to the yeasty 
part, delivering a wakener in unexpected quarters: 
masterly as the skilled cook's carving of a joint with 
hungry g'uests for admirers. 

'Eh, Madge?' the earl said. 

She kept her sight fixed, replying: 'Yes, I think . . .' 
Carinthia joined with her: 'I must believe it that he 
will: but will the other man, poor man, submit? I 
entreat him to put away his pride. It is his — oh, poor 
man!' 

Ben was having it hot and fast on a torso physiognomy. 

The voices of these alien women thrilled the fray and 
were a Bardic harp to Lord Fleetwood. 

He dropped a pleasant word on the heads in the 
curricle. 

Mr. Owain Wythan looked up. 'Worthy of The- 
ocritus. It 's the Boxing Twin and the Bembrycian 
giant. The style of each. To the letter !' 

'Kit is assiduously fastening Ben's blinkers,' Potts 
remarked. 

He explained to the incomprehensible lady he fancied 
he had somewhere seen, that the battle might be known 
as near the finish by the behaviour on board Lord Brail- 
stone's coach. 

'It's like Foreign Affairs and the Stock Exchange,' 
he said to the more intelligent males. 'If I want to 
know exactly how the country stands, I turn to the 



A TASTE OF OLD ENGLAND 173 

Money Article in the papers. That 's a barometrical 
certainty. No use inquiring abroad. Look at old 
Kufus Abrane. , I see the state of the fight on the old 
fellow's mug. He hasn't a bet left in him !' 

'Captain Mountain — Rufus Mus!' cried Lord Fleet- 
wood, and laughed at the penetrative portrait Wood- 
seer's epigram sketched ; he had a desire for the presence 
of the singular vagabond. 

The Rufus Mus in the Captain Mountain exposed 
his view of the encounter, by growing stiller, appar- 
ently growing smaller, without a squeak, like the en- 
trapped; and profoundly contemplative, after the style 
of the absolutely detached, who foresee the fatal crash, 
and are calculating, far ahead of events, the means for 
meeting their personal losses. 

The close of the battle was on the visage of Rufus 
Abrane fifteen minutes before that Elgin marble imder 
red paint in the ring sat on the knee of a succoui;ing 
seconder, mopped, rubbed, dram-primed, puppy-peep- 
ing, inconsolably comforted, preparatory to the resump- 
tion of the great-coat he had so hopefully cast from his 
shoulders. Not downcast by any means. Like an old 
Roman, the man of the sheer hulk with purple eye- 
mounds found his legs to do the manful thing, show 
that there was no bad blood, stand equal to all forms. 
Ben Todds, if ever man in Old England, looked the 
picture you might label 'Bellyful,' it was remarked. 
Kit Ines had an appearance of springy readiness to lead 
off again. So they faced on the opening step of their 
march into English History. 

Vanquisher and vanquished shook hands, engaged 
in a parting rally of good-humoured banter; the beaten 
man said his handsome word; the best man capped it 
with a compliment to him. They drink of different 
cups to-day. Both will drink of one cup in the day to 



174 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

come. But the day went too clearly to crown the light 
and the tight and the right man of the two, for moral- 
izing to wag its tail at the end. Oldsters and younsters 
agreed to that. Science had done it: happy the 
backers of Science ! Not one of them alluded to the 
philosophical 'hundred years hence.' For when Eng- 
land, thanks to a spirited pair of our young noblemen, 
has exhibited one of her characteristic performances con- 
summately, Philosophy is bidden fly; she is a foreign 
bird. 



CHAPTER XVII 

RECORDS A SHADOW CONTEST CLOSE ON THE FORE- 
GOING 

Kit Ines cocked an eye at Madge, in the midst of the 
congratulations and the pseans pumping his arms. As 
he had been little mauled, he could present a face to 
her, expecting a wreath of smiles for the victor. 

What are we to think of the contrarious young woman 
who, when he lay beaten, drove him off the field and was 
all tenderness and devotion? She bobbed her head, 
hardly more than a trifle pleased, one might say. Just 
like females. They 're riddles, not worth spelling. 
Then, drunk I 'U get to-night, my pretty dear ! the 
man muttered, soured by her inopportune staidness, as 
an opponent's bruisings could never have rendered him. 

She smiled a lively beam in answer to the earl ; ' Oh 
yes, I 'm glad. It 's your doing, my lord.' Him it was 
that she thanked, and for the moment prized most. 
The female riddle is hard to read, because it is com- 
pounded of sensations, and they rouse and appeal to 
the similar cockatrices in us, which either hiss back or 



A SHADOW CONTEST 175 

coil upon themselves. She admired Kit Ines for his 
valour: she hated that ruinous and besotting drink. 
It flung skeletons of a married couple on the wall of the 
future. Nevertheless her love had been all maternal 
to him when he lay chastised and disgraced on account 
of his vice. Pity had done it. Pity not being stirred, 
her admiration of the hero declared victorious, whose 
fortunes in uncertainty had stopped the beating of her 
heart, was eclipsed by gratitude toward his preserver, 
and a sentiment eclipsed becomes temporarily coldish, 
against our wish and our efforts, in a way to astonish; 
making her think that she cannot hold two sentiments 
at a time ; when it is but the fact that she is unable to 
keep the two equally warm. 

Carinthia said to her : ' He is brave.' 

'Oh yes, he 's brave,' Madge assented. 

Lord Brailstone, flourishing his whip, cried out: 'At 
Canleys to-night?' 

The earl nodded : 'I shall be there.' 

' You, too, Chummy ? ' came from Abrane. 

'To see you dance,' Potts rejoined, and mumbled: 
'But will he dance! Old Braney's down on his luck; 
he 's a specimen of a fellow emptier and not lighter. 
And won't be till supper-time. But, I say. Fleet, how 
the deuce ? — ^f unny sort of proceeding ! — You haven't 
introduced me.' 

'The lady bears my name, Mr. Chumley Potts.' 

With a bow to the lady's profile and a mention of a 
glimpse at Baden, Potts ejaculated: 'It happened this 
morning ? ' 

'You allude to the marriage. It happened this 
morning.' 

' How do I get to Canleys ? ' 

'I drive you. Another team from the Esslemont 
stables is waiting at the Royal.' 



176 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'You stay at Canleys?' 

'No.' 

' No ? Oh ! Funny, upon my word. Though I 
don't know why not — except that people . . .' 

'Count your winnings, Chummy.' 

Fleetwood remarked to his bride : ' Our friend has 
the habit of soliloquizing in company. I forgot to tell 
you of an appointment of mine at a place called Can- 
leys, about twenty miles or more from here. I gave 
my word, so I keep it. The landlady at the inn, Mrs. 
Rundles, motherly kind of woman; she will be atten- 
tive. They don't cook badly, for an English inn, I 
have heard. Madge here wUl act as your lady's-maid 
for the time. You will find her serviceable ; she 's a 
bruiser's lass and something above it. — Ines informed 
me, Madge, you were going to friends of yours at the 
Wells. You will stay at the Royal and wait on this 
lady, who bears my name. You understand? — A girl 
I can trust for courage, if the article is in request,' he 
resumed to his bride; and talked generally of the inn 
and the management of it, and its favoured position 
outside the village and contiguous to the river, upon 
which it subsisted. 

Carinthia had heard. She was more than ever the 
stunned young woman she had been since her mount- 
ing of the coach, between the village church and 
Lekkatts. 

She said not a word. Why should she? — ^her object 
was won. Give her that, and a woman's tongue will 
consent to rest. The dreaded weapon rests also when 
she is kept spinning by the whip. She gives out a 
pleasant hum, too. Her complexion must be pro- 
nounced dull in repose. A bride on her travels with 
an aspect of wet chalk, rather helps to scare mankind 
from marriage: which may be good or bad; but she 



A SHADOW CONTEST 177 

reflects a sicklier hue on the captured Chessman calling 
her his own. Let her shine in privacy. 

Fleetwood drew up at the Royal Sovereign, whereof 
the reigning monarch, in blue uniform on the sign- 
board, curtseyed to his equally windy subjects; and 
a small congregation of the aged, and some cripples 
and infants, greeted the patron of Old England's man- 
fullest display, cheering at news of the fight, brought 
them by many little runners. 

'Your box has been conveyed to your room,' he said 
to his bride. 

She bowed. This time she descended the coach by 
the aid of the ladder. 

Ines, victorious in battle, had scant notice from his 
love. 'Yes, I'm glad,' and she passed him to follow 
her newly constituted mistress. His pride was dashed, 
all the foam of the first draw on the top of him blown 
off, as he figuratively explained the cause of his gloom 
to the earl. 'I drink and I gets a licking — that girl 
nurses and cossets me. I don't drink and I whops my 
man — she shows me her back. Ain't it encouragement, 
my lord?' 

'You ought to know them by this time, you dolt,' 
returned his patron, and complimented him on his 
bearing in the fight. ' You shall have your two hundred, 
and something will be added. Hold handy here till 
I mount. I start in ten minutes.' 

Whether to speak a polite adieu to the bride, whose 
absurd position she had brought on her own head, was 
debated for half a minute. He considered that the 
wet chalk-quarry of a beauty had at all events the merit 
of not being a creature to make scenes. He went up 
to the sitting-room. If she was not there, he would 
leave his excuses. 

She was there, and seated ; neither crying, nor smiling, 



178 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

nor pointedly serious in any way, not conventionally 
at her ease either. And so clearly was he impressed by 
her transparency in simplicity of expression, that he 
took without a spurn at it the picture of a woman half 
drained of her blood, veiling the Wound. And a young 
woman, a stranger to suffering : perhaps — ^as the crea- 
tures do — looking for the usual flummery tenderness, 
what they call happiness; wondering at the absence 
of it and the shifty ghost of a husband she has got by 
floundering into the bog known as Marriage. She would 
have it, and here she was ! 

He entered the situation and was possessed by the 
shivering delicacy of it. Surface emotions were not 
seen on her. She might be a creature with a soul. Here 
and there the thing has been found in women. It is 
priceless when found, and she could not be acting. One 
might swear the creature had no power to act. 

She spoke without offence, the simplest of words, 
affected no solicitudes, put on no gilt smiles, wore no re- 
proaches: spoke to him as if so it happened — ^he had 
necessarily a journey to perform. One could see aU 
the while big drops falling from the wound within. One 
could hear it in her voice. Imagine a crack of the string 
at the bow's deep stress. Or imagine the bow paralyzed 
at the moment of the deepest sounding. And yet the 
voice did not waver. She had now the richness of tone 
carrying on a music through silence. 

Well, then, at least, he had not been the utterly duped 
fool he thought himself since the consent was pledged 
to wed her. 

More, she had beauty — of its kind. Or splendour or 
grandeur, was the term for it. But it bore no name. 
None of her qualities — ^if they were qualities — ^had a 
name. She stood with a dignity that the word did not 
express. She endured meekly, when there was no 



A SHADOW CONTEST 179 

meekness. Pain breathed out of her, and not a sign of 
pain was visible. She had, under his present observation 
of her, beauty, with the lines of her face breaking in 
revolt from beauty — or requiring a superterrestrial 
illumination to show the harmony. He, as he now 
saw, had erred grossly in supposing her insensitive, and 
therefore slow of a woman's understanding. She drew 
the breath of pain through the lips: red lips and well 
cut. Her brown eyes were tearless, not alluring or 
beseeching or repelling ; they did but look, - much like 
the skies opening high aloof on a wreck of storm. Her 
reddish hair — chestnut, if you will — let fall a skein over 
one of the rugged brows, and softened the ruggedness 
by making it wilder, as if a great bird were winging across 
a shoulder of the mountain ridges. Conceived of the 
mountains, built in their image, the face partook alter- 
nately of mountain terror or splendour; wholly, he 
remembered, of the splendour when her blood ran warm. 
No longer the chalk-quarry face. — its paleness now 
was that of night Alps beneath a moon chasing the 
shadows. 

She might be casting her spells again. 

'You remember I told you,' he said, 'I have given 
my word — I don't break it — to be at a Ball. Your uncle 
was urgent to have the ceremony over. These clashes 
occur. The people here — I have spoken of that : people 
of good repute for attention to guests. I am uncertain 
of the time ... we have all to learn to wait. So then, 
good-bye till we meet.' 

He was experiencing a novel nip of torment, of just 
the degree which takes a partial appeasement from the 
inflicting of it, and calls up a loathed compassion. She 
might have been in his arms for a step, though she would 
not have been the better loved. 

He was allowed his escape, bearing with him enough 



180 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of husband to execrate another enslaving pledge of his 
word, that begat a frenzy to wreak some caresses on the 
creature's intolerably haunting image. Of course, he 
could not return to her. How would she receive him? 
There was no salt in the thought of it; she was too 
submissive. 

However, there would be fun with Chummy Potts 
on the drive to Canleys; fun with Rufus Abrane at 
Mrs. Cowper Quillett's; and with the Countess Livia, 
smothered, struggling, fighting for life with the title of 
Dowager. A desire for unbridled fun had hold of him : 
any amount of it, to excess in any direction. And 
through this cloud, as a dry tongue after much wine 
craves water, glimpses of his tramp's walk with a fellow- 
tramp on a different road, enjoying strangely healthy 
vagabond sensations and vast ideas, brought the vagrant 
philosopher refreshfully to his mind: chiefly for the 
reason that while in Woodseer's company he had hardly 
suffered a stroke of pain from the thought of Henrietta. 
She was now a married woman, he was a married man — 
by the register. Stronger proof of the maddest of 
worlds could not be furnished. 

Sane in so mad a world, a man is your flabby citizen 
among outlaws, good for plucking. Fun, at any cost, 
is the one object worth a shot in such a world. And 
the fun is not to stop. If it does, we are likely to be 
got hold of, and lugged away to the altar — the termi- 
nus. That foul disaster has happened, through our 
having temporarily yielded to a fit of the dumps and 
treated a mad world's lunatic issue with some serious- 
ness. But fun shall be had with the aid of His High- 
ness below. The madder the world, the madder the 
fun. And the mixing in it of another element, which 
it has to beguile us — romance — is not at all bad cookery. 
Poetic romance is delusion — a tale of a Corsair; a poet's 



A SHADOW CONTEST 181 

brain, a bottle of gin, and a theatrical wardrobe. Comic 
romance is about us everywhere, alive for the tapping. 

A daughter of the Old Buccaneer should participate 
in it by right of birth : she would expect it in order 
to feel herself perfectly at home. Then, be sure, she 
finds an English tongue and prattles away as merrily 
as she does when her old scapegrace of a father is the 
theme. Son-in-law to him ! But the path of wisdom 
runs in the line of facts, and to have wild fun and romance 
on this pantomime path, instead of kicking to break 
away from it, we follow things conceived by the genius 
of the situation, for the delectation of the fair Countess 
of Fleetwood and the earl, her delighted husband, quite 
in the spirit of the Old Buccaneer, father of the bride. 

Carinthia sat beside the fire, seeing nothing in the 
room or on the road. Up in her bedchamber, the girl 
Madge was at her window. She saw Lord Fleetwood 
standing alone, laughing, it seemed, at some thought; 
he threw up his head. Was it a newly married man 
leaving his bride and laughing? The bride was a dear 
lady, fit for better than to be driven to look on at a 
prize-fight — a terrible scene to a lady. She was left 
solitary : and this her wedding day ? The earl had said 
it, he had said she bore his name, spoke of coming from 
the altar, and the lady had blushed to hear herself called 
Miss. The pressure of her hand was warm with Madge : 
her situation roused the fervid latent sisterhood in the 
breast of women. 

Before he mounted the coach, Lord Fleetwood talked 
to Kit Ines. He pointed at an upper window, seemed 
to be issuing directions. Kit nodded; he understood 
it, whatever it was. You might have said, a pair of 
burglars. The girl ran downstairs to bid her lover 
good-bye and show him she really rejoiced in his victory. 
J^it came to her saying: 'Given my word of honour I 



182 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

won't make a beast of myself to-night. Got to watch 
over you and your lady.' 

Lord Fleetwood started his fresh team, casting no 
glance at the windows of the room where his bride was. 
He and the gentlemen on the coach were laughing. 

His leaving of his young bride to herself this day 
was classed among the murky flashes which distin- 
guished the deeds of noblemen. But his laughter on 
leaving her stamped it a cruelty ; of the kind that plain 
mortals, who can be monsters, commit. Madge con- 
ceived a pretext for going into the presence of her mistress, 
whose attitude was the same as when she first sat in the 
chair. The lady smiled and said : ' He is not hurt 
much?' She thought for them about her. 

The girl's heart of sympathy thumped, and her hero 
became a very minute object. He had spoken previ- 
ously of the making or not making a beast of himself, 
without inflicting a picture of the beast. His words 
took shape now, and in consequence a little self-pity 
began to move. It stirred to swell the great wave of 
pity for the lady, that was in her bosom. 'Oh, he!' 
she said, and extinguished the thought of him; and at 
once her under-lip was shivering, her eyes filled and 
poured. 

Carinthia rose anxiously. The girl dropped at her 
feet. ' You have been so good to me to-day, my lady ! 
so good to me to-day! I can't help it — I don't often 
— ^just for this moment ; I 've been excited. Oh, he 's 
well, he will do; he 's nothing. You say "poor child !" 
But I 'm not ; it 's only excitement. I do long to serve 
you the best I can.' 

She stood up in obedience and had the arms of her 
young mistress pressing her. Tears also were streaming 
from Carinthia's eyes. Heartily she thanked the girl 
for the excuse to cry. 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 183 

They were two women. On the road to Canleys, the 
coach conveying men spouted with the lusty anecdote, 
relieved of the interdict of a tyrannical sex. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 

Contention begets contention in a land of the pirate 
races. Gigs were at high rival speed along the road 
from the battle-field to London. They were the elec- 
trical wires of the time for an expectant population 
bursting to have report of so thundering an event as 
the encounter of two champion light weights, nursed 
and backed by a pair of gallant young noblemen, pick 
of the whole row of coronets above. London panted 
gaping and the gigs flew with the meat to fill it. 

Chumley Potts offered Ambrose Mallard fair odds 
that the neat little trap of the chief sporting journal, 
which had a reputation to maintain, would be over one 
or other of the bridges crossing the Thames first. Mallard 
had been struck by the neat little trap of an impudent 
new and lower-priced journal, which had a reputation 
to gain. He took the proffered odds, on the cry as of a 
cracker splitting. Enormous difficulties in regard to the 
testimony and the verifications were discussed; they 
were overcome. Potts was ready for any amount of 
trouble; Mallard the same. There was clearly a race. 
There would consequently be a record. Visits to the 
offices of those papers, perhaps half a day at the south 
end of London or on Westminster bridge, examining 
witnesses, comer shopmen, watermen, and the like, would 
or should satisfactorily establish the disputed point. 



184 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Fleetwood had his fun; insomuch that he laughed 
himself into a sentiment of humaneness toward the 
couple of donkeys and forgot his contempt of them. 
Their gamblings and their bets increased his number 
of dependents; and imbeciles were preferable to dolts 
or the dry gilt figures of the circle he had to move in. 
Matter for some astonishment had been furnished to 
the latter this day ; and would cause an icy Signor stare 
and rather an angry Signora flutter. A characteristic 
of that upper circle, as he knew it, is, that the good 
are dull, the vicious very bad. They had nothing to 
please him but manners. Elsewhere this land is a land 
of no manners. Take it and make the most of it, then, 
for its quality of brute honesty: which is found to 
flourish best in the British prize-ring. 

His irony landed him there. It struck the country 
a ringing blow. But it struck an almost effacing one 
at the life of the young nobleman of boundless wealth, 
whose highest renown was the being a patron of prize- 
fighters. Husband of the daughter of the Old Buc- 
caneer as well ! perchance as a result. That philosopher 
tramp named her 'beautiful Gorgon.' She has no beauty ; 
and as for Gorgon, the creature has a look of timid soft- 
ness in waiting behind her rocky eyes. A barbaric 
damsel beginning to nibble at civilization, is nearer the 
mark ; and ought she to be discouraged ? 

Fleetwood's wrath with his position warned him 
against the dupery of any such alcove thoughts. For 
his wrath revenged him, and he feared the being stripped 
of it, lest a certain fund of his own softness, that he knew 
of, though few did, should pull him to the creature's 
feet. She belonged to him indeed; so he might put 
her to the trial of whether she had a heart and personal 
charm, without the ceremony of wooing — which, in his 
case, tempted to the feeling desperately earnest and 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 185 

becoming enslaved. He speculated upon her eyelids 
and lips, and her voice, when melting, as women do in 
their different ways; here and there with an execrable 
— perhaps pardonable — art; one or two divinely. The 
vision drew him to a headlong plunge and swim of the 
amorous mind, occupying a minute, filling an era; He 
corrected the feebleness, and at the same time threw a 
practical coachman's glance on peculiarities of the road, 
requiring some knowledge of it if traversed backward at a 
whipping pace on a moonless night. The drive from 
Canleys to the Royal Sovereign could be done by good 
pacers in an hour and a half, little more — with Ines and 
the stables ready, and some astonishment in a certain 
unseen chamber. Fleetwood chuckled at a vision of 
romantic devilry — perfectly legitimate too. Something, 
more to inflict than enjoy, was due to him. 

He did not phrase it, that a talk with the fellow 
Woodseer of his mountains and his forests, and nature, 
philosophy, poetry, would have been particularly healthy 
for him, almost as good as the good counsel be needed 
and solicited none to give him. It swept among his 
ruminations while he pricked Potts and Mallard to supply 
his craving for satanical fare. 

Gower Woodseer, the mention of whom is a dejection 
to the venerable source of our story, was then in the 
act of emerging from the Eastward into the Southward 
of the line of Canterbury's pilgrims when they set forth 
to worship, on his homeward course, after a walk of 
two days out of Dover. He descended London's borough, 
having exactly twopence halfpenny for refreshment, 
following a term of prudent starvation, at the end of the 
walk. It is not a district seductive to the wayfarer's 
appetite; as, for example, one may find the Jew's fry 
of fish in oil, inspiriting the Shoreditch region, to be. 
Nourishment is afforded, according to the laws of 



186 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

England's genius in the arts of refection, at uninviting 
shops, to the necessitated stomach. A penn'orth of crumb 
of bread, assisted on its laborious passage by a penn'orth 
of the rinsings of beer, left the natural philosopher a 
ha'penny for dessert at the stall of an applewoman, 
where he withstood an inclination toward the juicy fruit 
and chose nuts. They extend a meal, as a grimace 
broadens the countenance, illusorily; but they help to 
cheat an emptiness in time, where it is nearly as offensive 
to our sensations as within us; and that prolonged 
occupation of the jaws goes a length to persuade us we are 
filling. All the better when the substance is indigestible. 
Tramps of the philosophical order, who are the practi- 
cally sagacious, prefer tough grain for the teeth. Wood- 
seer's munching of his nuts awakened to fond imagination 
the picture of his father's dinner, seen one day and little 
envied : a small slice of cold boiled mutton-flesh in a 
crescent of white fat, with a lump of dry bread beside 
the plate. 

Thus he returned to the only home he had, not dis- 
heartened, and bearing scenes that outvied London's 
print-shops for polychrome splendour, an exultation to 
recall. His condition, moreover, threw his father's life 
and work into colour: the lean Whitechapel house of 
the minister among the poor; the joy in the saving 
of souls, if he could persuade himself that such good 
labour advanced : and at the fall of light, the pastime 
task of bootmaking — a desireable occupation for a thinker. 
Thought flies best when the hands are easily busy. 
Cobblers have excursive minds. Their occasional rap 
at the pegs diversifies the stitchings and is often happily 
timed to settle an internal argument. Seek in a village 
for information concerning the village or the state of 
mankind, you will be less disappointed at the cobbler's 
than elsewhere, it has been said. 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 187 

As Gower had anticipated, with lively feelings of 
pleasure, Mr. Woodseer was at the wonted corner of his 
back room, on the stool between two tallow candle- 
flames, leather- scented strongly, when the wanderer 
stood before him, in the image of a ball that has done 
with circling about a stable point. 

' Back ? ' the minister sang out at once, and his wrinkles 
gleamed. 

Their hands grasped. 

'Hungry, sir, rather.' 

'To be sure, you are. One can read it on your 
boots. Mrs. Jones will spread you a table. How 
many miles to-day? Show the soles. They tell a 
tale of wear.' 

They had worn to resemble the thin-edged layers 
of still upper cloud round the peep of coming sky. 

'About forty odd to-day, sir. They 've done their 
hundreds of miles and have now come to dock. I '11 
ask Mrs. Jones to bring me a plate here.' 

Gower went to the housekeeper in the kitchen. His 
father's front door was unfastened by day; she had 
not set eyes on him yet, and Mr. Woodseer murmured : 

' Now she 's got the boy. There 's clasping and kiss- 
ing. He 's all wild Wales to her.' 

The plate of meat was brought by Mary Jones with 
Gower beside her, and a sniffle of her happiness audible. 
She would not, although invited to stay and burning to 
hekr Gower, wait in the room where father and son 
had to talk together after a separation, long to love's 
counting. She was a Welshwoman of the pure blood, 
therefore delicately mannered by nature. 

'Yes, dear lad, tobacco helps you on to the marrow 
of your story, and I too will blow the cloud,' said Mr. 
Woodseer, when the plate was pushed aside and the pipe 
^appeared. 



188 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

So Gower's recital of his wanderings began, more 
puffs than speech at the commencement. He was alter- 
nately picturesque and sententious until he reached 
Baden; there he became involved, from thinking of a 
revelation of beauty in woman. 

Mr. Woodseer rapped the leather on his block. 

'A place where they have started public gambling, I 
am told.' 

'We must look into all the corners of the world to 
know it, sir, and the world has to be riddled or it riddles 
us.' 

'Ah. Did you ever tall a lie, Gower Woodseer?' 

'I played.' 

'You played. The Lord be thanked you have kept 
your straight tongue! The Lord can always enter a 
heart of truth. Sin cannot dwell with it. But you 
played for gain, and that was a licenced thieving; and 
that was a backsliding; and there will have to be a 
climbing up. And what that means, your hold on truth 
will learn. Touch sin and you accommodate yourself 
to its vileness. Ay, you love nature. Nature is not 
anchorage for vessels like men. If you loved the Book 
you would float in harbour. You played. I do trust 
you lost.' 

'You have your wish, sir.' 

' To have won their money, Gower ! Rather starve.' 

'I did.' 

' Your reason for playing, poor lad ? ' 

'The reason eludes reason.' 

'Not in you.' 

'Sight of the tables; an itch to try them — one's self 
as well; a notion that the losers were playing wrong. 
In fine, a bit of a whirl of a medley of atoms; I can't 
explain it further.' 

' Ah. The tippler's fumes in his head ! Spotty 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 189 

business, Gower Woodseer. "Lead us not into tempta- 
tion" is worldly wisdom in addition to heavenly.' 

After listening to an extended homily, with a general 
assent and tobacco's phlegm, Gower replied to his 
father's 'You starved manfully?' nodding: 'From 
Baden to Nancy. An Alsatian cottager at times helped 
me along, milk and bread.' 

'Wholesome for body and for soul.' 

'Entering Nancy I subscribed to the dictum of our 
first fathers, which dogs would deliver, if they could 
speak : that there is no driver like stomach : and I 
went head on to the College, saw the Principal : plea 
of urgency. No engagement possible, to teach either 
French or English. But he was inquisitive touching 
the urgency. That was my chance. The French are 
humane when they are not suspicious of you. They 
are generous, if you put a light to their minds. As I 
was dealing with a scholarly one, I made use of such 
ornamental literary skill as I possessed, to prove urgency. 
He supplied me with bread, fruit, and wine. In the 
end he procured me pupils. I lodged over a baker's 
shop. I had good walks, and learnt something of 
forestry there — a taking study. When I had saved 
enough to tramp it home, I said my adieux to that good 
friend and tramped away, entering London with about 
the same amount in small coin as when I entered Nancy. 
A manner of exactly hitting the mark, that some would 
not find so satisfactory as it is to me.' 

The minister sighed. 'There comes in the "philos- 
ophy," I suppose. When will you understand, that 
this "philosophy" is only the passive of a religious 
faith? It seems to suit you gentlemen of the road 
while you are young. Work among the Whitechapel 
poor. It would be a way for discovering the shallows 
of your "philosophy" earlier.' 



190 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Gower asked him : 'Going badly here, sir?' 

'Murders, robberies, misusage of women, and mis- 
conduct of women ! — Drink, in short : about the same 
amount. Drink is their death's river, rolling them on 
helpless as corpses, on to — may they find mercy ! I and 
a few stand — it 's in the tide we stand here, to stop 
them, pluck them out, make life a bit sweet to them 
before the poor bodies go beneath. But come ! all 's not 
dark, we have our gleams. I speak distressed by one of 
our girls : a good girl, I believe ; and the wilfullest that 
ever had command of her legs. A well-favoured girl ! 
You '11 laugh, she has given her heart to a prize-fighter. 
Well, you can say, she might have chosen worse. He 
drinks, she hates it; she loves the man and hates his 
vice. He swears amendment, is hiccupping at night; 
fights a match on the morrow, and gets beaten out of 
formation. No matter: whenever, wherever, that man 
goes to his fight, that girl follows to nurse him after it. 
He 's her hero. Women will have one, and it 's their 
lottery. You read of such things ; here we have it alive 
and walking. I am led to think they 're an honest 
couple. They come of established families. Her mother 
was out of Caermarthen; died under my ministration, 
saintly, forgiving the drunkard. You may remember 
the greengrocer, Tobias Winch? He passed away in 
shrieks for one drop. I had to pitch my voice to the top 
notes to get hearing for the hymn. He was a reverent 
man, with the craving by fits. That should have been 
a lesson to Madge.' 

'A little girl at the greengrocer's hard by? She sold 
me apples ; rather pretty,' said Gower. 

'A fine grown girl now — Madge Winch; a comely 
wench she is. It breaks her sister Sarah's heart. They 
both manage the little shop ; they make it prosper in a 
small way; enough, and what need they more? Then 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 191 

Christopher Ines has on one of his matches. Madge 
drives her cart out, if it 's near town. She 's off down 
into Kent to-day by coach, Sarah tells me. A great 
nobleman patronizes Christopher; a Lord Fleetwood, a 
lord of wealth. And he must be thoughtful for these 
people: he sent Sarah word that Christopher should 
not touch drink. You may remember a butcher Ines 
in the street next to us. Christopher was a wild lad, 
always at "best man" with every boy he met: went to 
sea — ran away. He returned a pugilist. The girl will 
be nursing him now. I have spoken to her of him ; and 
I trust to her; but I mourn her attachment to the man 
who drinks.' 

' The lord's name ? ' said Gower. 

'Lord Fleetwood, Sarah named him. And so it 
pleases him to spend his money !' 

'He has other tastes. I know something of him, sir. 
He promises to be a patron of Literature as well. His 
mother was a South Wales woman.' 

'Could he be persuaded to publish a grand edition of 
the Triads ? ' Mr. Woodseer said at once. 

' No man more likely.' ' 

'If you see him, suggest it.' 

'Very little chance of my meeting him again. But 
those Triads ! They 're in our blood. They spring to 
tie knots in the head. They push me to condense my 
thoughts to a tight ball. They were good for primitive 
times : but they — or the trick of the mind engendered 
by them — trip my steps along the lines of composition. 
I produce pellets instead of flowing sheets. It '11 come 
right. At present I 'm so bent to pick and perfect, 
polish my phrase, that I lose my survey. As a conse- 
quence, my vocabulary falters.' 

'Ah,' Mr. Woodseer breathed and smote. 'This Litera- 
ture is to be your profession for the means of living?' 



192 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

' Nothing else. And I 'm so low down in the market 
way of it, that I could not count on twenty pounds per 
annum. Fifty would give me standing, an independent 
fifty.' 

'To whom are you crying, Gower?' 

' Not to gamble, you may be sure.' 

'You have a home.' 

'Good work of the head wants an easy conscience. 
I 've too much of you in me for a comfortable pensioner.' 

' Or is it not, that you have been living the gentleman 
out there, with just a holiday title to it?' 

Gower was hit by his father's thrust. 'I shall feel 
myself a pieman's chuckpenny as long as I 'm unpro- 
ductive, now I 've come back and have to own to a 
home,' he said. 

Tea brought in by Mrs. Mary Jones rather brightened 
him until he considered that the enlivenment was due 
to a purchase by money, of which he was incapable, 
and he rejected it, like an honourable man. Simultane- 
ously, the state of depression threw critic shades on a 
prized sentence or two among his recent confections. It 
was rejected for the best of reasons and the most dis- 
comforting: because it racked our English; signify- 
ing, that he had not yet learnt the right use of his 
weapons. 

He was in this wrestle, under a placid demeanour, for 
several days, hearing the shouts of Whitechapel Kit's 
victory, and hearing of Sarah Winch's anxiety on ac- 
count of her sister Madge; unaffected by sounds of joy 
or grief, in his effort to produce a supple English, with 
Baden's Madonna for sole illumination of his darkness. 
To her, to the illimitable gold-mist of perspective and 
the innumerable images the thought of her painted for 
him, he owed the lift which withdrew him from con- 
templation of himself in a very disturbing stagnant pool 



DOWN WHITECHAPEL WAY 193 

of the wastes ; wherein often will strenuous youth, grown 
faint, behold a face beneath a scroll inscribed Impostor. 
All whose aim was high have spied into that pool, and 
have seen the face. His glorious lady would not let 
it haunt him. 

The spell she cast had likewise power to raise him 
clean out of a neighbourhood hinting Erebus to the young 
man with thirst for air, solitudes, and colour. Scarce 
imaginable as she was, she reigned here, in the idea of 
her, more fixedly than where she had been visible; as 
it were, by right of her being celestially removed from 
the dismal place. He was at the same time not insensible 
to his father's contented ministrations among these 
homes of squalor; they pricked the curiosity, which 
was in the youthful philosopher a form of admiration. 
For his father, like all Welshmen, loved the mountains. 
Yet here he lived, exhorting, ministering, aiding, sup- 
ported up to high good cheer by some, it seemed, super- 
human backbone of uprightness; — ^his religious faith? 
Well, if so, the thing might be studied. But things of the 
frozen senses, lean and hueless things, were as repellent 
to Gower's imagination as his father's dishes to an 
epicure. What he envied was, the worthy old man's 
heart of feeling for others : his feeling at present for 
the girl Sarah Winch and her sister Madge, who had not 
been heard of since she started for the fight. Mr. Wood- 
seer had written to her relatives at the Wells, receiving no 
consolatory answer. 

He was relieved at last; and still a little perplexed. 
Madge had returned, he informed Gower. She was 
well, she was well in health ; he had her assurances that 
she was not excited about herself. 

'She has brought a lady with her, a great lady to 
lodge with her. She has brought the Countess of Fleet- 
wood to lodge with her.' 



194 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Gower heard those words from his father; and his 
father repeated them. To the prostrate worshipper of 
the Countess of Fleetwood, they were a blow on the 
head; madness had set in here, was his first recovering 
thought, or else a miracle had come to pass. Or was it 
a sham Countess of Fleetwood imposing upon the girl? 
His father was to go and see the great lady, at the 
greengrocer's shop ; at her request, according to Madge. 
Conjectures shot their perishing tracks across a dark- 
ness that deepened and made shipwreck of philosophy. 
Was it the very Countess of Fleetwood penitent for her 
dalliance with the gambling passion, in feminine need 
of pastor's aid, having had report from Madge of this 
good shepherd? His father expressed a certain sur- 
prise; his countenance was mild. He considered it a 
merely strange occurrence. 

Perhaps, in a crisis, a minister of religion is better 
armed than a philosopher. Gower would not own that, 
but he acknowledged the evidences, and owned to envy ; 
especially when he accompanied his father to the green- 
grocer's shop, and Mr. Woodseer undisturbedly said : — 

'Here is the place.' The small stuffed shop ap- 
peared to grow portentously cavernous and waveringly 
illumined. 



CHAPTER XIX 

THE GIRL MADGE 

Customers were at the counter of the shop, and these 
rational figures, together with the piles of cabbages, the 
sacks of potatoes, the pale small oranges here and there, 
the dominant smell of red herrings, denied the lurking 
of an angelical presence behind them. 



THE GIRL MADGE 195 

Sarah Winch and a boy served at the counter. Sarah 
led the Mr. Woodseers into a corner knocked off the 
shop and called a room. Below the top bars of a wizened 
grate was a chilly fire. London's light came piecemeal 
through a smut-streaked window. If the wonderful 
was to occur, this was the place to heighten it. 

'My son may be an intruder,' Mr. Woodseer said. 
' He is acquainted with a Lord Fleetwood . . . ' 

'Madge will know, sir,' replied Sarah, and she sent 
up a shrill cry for Madge from the foot of the stairs. 

The girl ran down swiftly. She entered listening to 
Sarah, looking at Gower; to whom, after a bob and 
pained smile where reverence was owing, she said, 'Can 
you tell me, sir, please, where we can find Lord Fleetwood 
now?' 

Gower was unable to tell. Madge turned to Mr. 
Woodseer, saying soon after: 'Oh, she won't mind; 
she '11 be glad, if he knows Lord Fleetwood. I '11 fetch 
her.' 

The moments were of the palpitating order for Gower, 
although his common sense lectured the wildest of 
hearts for expecting such a possibility as the presence 
of his lofty lady here. 

And, of course, common sense proved to be right : the 
lady was quite another. But she struck on a sleeping 
day of his travels. Her face was not one to be forgotten, 
and to judge by her tremble of a smile, she remembered 
him instantly. 

They were soon conversing, each helping to paint the 
scene of the place where they had met. 

'Lord Fleetwood has married me,' she said. 

Gower bent his head ; all stood silent. 

'May I?' said Madge to her. 'It is Lord Fleet- 
wood's wedded wife, sir. He drove her from her uncle's, 
on her wedding day, the day of a prize-fight, where I 



196 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

was; he told me to wait on his lady at an inn there, 
as I 've done and will. He drove away that evening, and 
he hasn't' — the girl's black eyebrows worked: 'I've 
not seen him since. He 's a great nobleman, yes. He 
left his lady at the inn, expenses paid. He left her 
with no money. She stayed on till her heart was break- 
ing. She has come to London to find him. She had 
to walk part of the way. She has only a change of 
linen we brought in a parcel. She 's a stranger to Eng- 
land : she knows nobody in London. She had no place 
to come to but this poor hole of ours she 's so good as 
let welcome her. We can't do better, and it 's no use 
to be ashamed. She 's not a lady to scorn poor 
people.' 

The girl's voice hummed through Gower. 

He said: 'Lord Fleetwood may not be in London,' 
and chafed at himself for such a quaver. 

' It 's his house we want, sir, he has not been at his 
house in Kent. We want his London house.' 

'My dear lady,' said Mr. Woodseer; 'it might be as 
well to communicate the state of things to your family 
without delay. My son will call at any address you 
name; or if it is a country address, I can write the 
items, with my assurances of your safety under my 
charge, in my house, which I beg you to make your 
home. My housekeeper is known to Sarah and Madge 
for an excellent Christian woman.' 

Carinthia replied : ' You are kind to me, sir. I am 
grateful. I have an uncle; I would not disturb my 
uncle; he is inventing guns and he wishes peace. It is 
my husband I have come to find. He did not leave me 
in anger.' 

She coloured. With a dimple of tenderness at one 
cheek, looking from Sarah to Madge, she said : ' I would 
not leave my friends ; they are sisters to me.' 



THE GIRL MADGE 197 

Sarah, at these words, caught up her apron. Madge 
did no more than breathe deep and fast. 

An unoccupied cold parlour in Mr. Woodseer's house 
that would be heated for a guest, urged him to repeat 
his invitation, but he took the check from Gower, who 
suggested the doubt of Mary Jones being so good an 
attendant upon Lady Fleetwood as Madge. 'And 
Madge has to help in the shop at times.' 

Madge nodded, looked into the eyes of her mistress, 
which sanctioned her saying : ' She will like it best here, 
she is my lady and I understand her best. My lady 
gives no trouble : she is hardy, she 's not like other 
ladies. I and Sarah sleep together in the room next. 
I can hear anything she wants. She takes us as if she 
was used to it.' 

Sarah had to go to serve a customer. Madge made 
pretence of pricking her ears and followed into the shop. 

'Your first visit to London is in ugly weather. Lady 
Fleetwood,' said Gower. 

'It is my first,' she aswered. 

How the marriage came about, how the separation, 
could not be asked and was not related. 

'Our district is not all London, my dear lady,' said 
Mr. Woodseer. 'Good hearts are here, as elsewhere, 
and as many, if one looks behind the dirt. I have 
found it since I laboured amongst them, now twenty 
years. Unwashed human nature, though it is natural 
to us to wash, is the most human, we find.' 

Gower questioned the naturalness of human nature's 
desire to wash; and they wrangled good-humouredly, 
Carinthia's eyes dwelling on them each in turn; until 
Mr. Woodseer, pursuing the theme started by him to 
interest her, spoke of consolations derived from his 
labours here, in exchange for the loss of his mountains. 
Her face lightened. 



198 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'You love the mountains?' 

'I am a son of the mountains.' 

' Ah, I love them ! Father called me a daughter of 
the mountains. I was born in the mountains. I was 
leaving my mountains on the day, I think it yesterday, 
when I met this gentleman who is your son.' 

'A glorious day it was !' Gower exclaimed. 

'It was a day of great glory for me,' said Carinthia. 
' Your foot did not pain you for long ? ' 

'The length of two pipes. You were with your 
brother.' 

'With my brother. My brother has married a most 
beautiful lady. He is now travelling his happy time — 
my Chillon!' 

There came a radiance on her under-eyelids. There 
was no weeping. 

Struck by the contrast between the two simultaneous 
honeymoons, and a vision of the high-spirited mountain 
girl, seen in this place a young bride seeking her hus- 
band, Gower Woodseer could have performed that 
unphilosophical part. He had to shake himself. She 
seemed really a soaring bird brought down by the fowler. 

Lord Fleetwood's manner of abandoning her was the 
mystery. 

Gower stood waiting for her initiative, when the 
minister interposed : ' There are books, books of our 
titled people — the Peers, books of the Peerage. They 
would supply the address. My son will discover where 
to examine them. He will find the address. Most of 
the great noblemen have a London house.' 

'My husband has a house in London,' Carinthia said. 

'I know him, to some degree,' said Gower. 

She remarked : 'I have heard that you do.' 

Her lips were shut, as to any hint at his treatment 
of her. 



THE GIRL MADGE 199 

Gower went into the shop to speak with Madge. The 
girl was talking in the business tone to customers; she 
finished her commission hurriedly and joined him on the 
pavement by the doorstep. Her voice was like the 
change for the swing of a door from street to temple. 

' You 've seen how brave she is, sir. She has things 
to bear. Never cries, never frets. Her marriage day 
— leastways ... I can't, no girl can tell. A great 
nobleman, yes. She waited, believing in him; she 
does. She hasn't spoken to me of what she 's had to 
bear. I don't know ; I guess ; I 'm sure I 'm right — 
and him a man ! Girls learn to know men, call them 
gentlemen or sweeps. She thinks she has only to meet 
him to persuade him she 's fit to be loved by him. She 
thinks of love. Would he — our tongues are tied except 
among ourselves to a sister. Leaves her by herself, 
with only me, after — it knocks me dumb ! Many a man 
commits a murder wouldn't do that. She could force him 
to — no, it isn't a house she wants, she wants him. He 's 
her husband, Mr. Woodseer. You will do what you can 
to help ; I judge by your father. I and Sarah '11 slave 
for her to be as comfortable as we can make her; we 
can't give her what she 's used to. I shall count the 
hours.' 

'You sold me apples when your head was just above 
the counter,' said Gower. 

'Did I? — you won't lose time, sir?' she rejoined. 
'Her box is down at the beastly inn in Kent. Kind 
people, I dare say; their bill was paid any extent, 
they said. And he might do as he liked in it — enter it 
like a thief, if it pleased him, and off like one, and they 
no wiser. She walked to his big house Esslemont for 
news of him. And I 'm not a snivelling wench either ; 
but she speaks of him a way to make a girl drink her 
tears, if they ain't to be let fall.' 



200 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'But you had a victory down there,' Gower hinted 
congratulations. 

'Ah,' said she. 

'Christopher Ines is all right now?' 

'I 've as good as lost my good name for Kit Ines, 
Mr. Woodseer.' 

' Not with my dad, Madge.' 

'The minister reads us at the heart. Shall we hear 
the street of his house in London before night ? ' 

'I may be late.' 

' I '11 be up, any hour, for a rap at the shutters. I 
want to take her to the house early next morning. She 
won't mind the distance. She lies in bed, her eyes 
shut or open, never sleeping, hears any mouse. It 
shouldn't go on, if we can do a thing to help.' 

'I 'm off,' said Gower, unwontedly vexed at his empty 
pocket, that could not offer the means for conveyance 
to a couple of young women. 

The dark-browed girl sent her straight eyes at him. 
They pushed him to hasten. On second thoughts, he 
stopped and hailed her; he was moved to confirm an 
impression of this girl's features. 

His mind was directed to the business burning behind 
them, honestly enough, as soon as he had them in sight 
again. 

'I ought to have the address of some of her people, 
in case,' he said. 

'She won't go to her uncle, I'm sure of that,' said 
Madge. ' He 's a lord and can't be worried. It 's her 
husband to find first.' 

'If he 's to be found ! — he 's a lord, too. Has she no 
other relatives or friends?' 

' She loves her brother. He 's an officer. He 's away 
on honeymoon. There 's an admiral down Hampshire 
way, a place I 've been near and seen. I 'd not have 



THE GIRL MADGE 201 

you go to any of them, sir, without trying all we can 
do to find Lord Fleetwood. It 's Admiral Fakenham 
she speaks of ; she 's fond of him. She 's not minded 
to bother any of her friends about herself.' 

'I shall see you to-night,' said Gower, and set his 
face Westward, remembering that his father had named 
Caermarthen as her mother's birthplace. 

Just in that tone of hers do Welshwomen talk of 
their country; of. its history, when at home, of its 
mountains, when exiled : and in a language like hers, 
bare of superlatives to signify an ardour conveyed by 
the fire of the breath. Her quick devotion to a lady 
exciting enthusiasm through admiring pity for the grace 
of a much-tried quiet sweetness, was explained; apart 
from other reasons, feminine or hidden, which might 
exist. Only a Welsh girl would be so quick and all in 
it, with a voice intimating a heated cauldron under 
her mouth. None but a Welsh-blooded girl, risking 
her good name to follow and nurse the man she con- 
sidered a hero, would carry her head to look virgin eyes 
as she did. One could swear to them, Gower thought. 
Contact with her spirited him out of his mooniness. 

He had the Cymric and Celtic respect of character, 
which puts aside the person's environments to face 
the soul. He was also an impressionable fellow among 
his fellows, a philosopher only at his leisure, in his 
courted solitudes. Getting away some strides from this 
girl of the drilling voice, — the shudder-voice, he phrased 
it, — the lady for whom she pleaded came clearer into 
his view and gradually absorbed him; though it was 
an emulation with the girl Madge, of which he was a 
trifle conscious, that drove him to do his work of service 
in the directest manner. He then fancied the girl had 
caught something of the tone of her lady : the savage 
intensity or sincerity; and he brooded on Carinthia's 



202 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

position, the mixture of the astounding and the woful 
in her misadventure. One could almost laugh at our 
human fate, to think of a drop off the radiant mountain 
heights upon a Whitechapel greengrocer's shop, gather- 
ing the title of countess midway. 

But nothing of the ludicrous touched her; no, and 
if we bring reason to scan our laugh at pure humanity, 
it is we who are in the place of the ridiculous, for doing 
what reason disavows. Had he not named her, Carinihia, 
Saint and Martyr, from a first perusal of her face ? And 
Lord Fleetwood had read and repeated it. Lord Fleet- 
wood had become the instrument to martyrize her ? That 
might be ; there was a hoard of bad stuff in his compo- 
sition besides the precious : and this was a nobleman 
owning enormous wealth, who could vitiate himself by 
disposing of a multitude of men and women to serve his 
will, a shifty will. Wealth creates the magician, and 
may breed the fiend within him. In the hands of a 
young man, wealth is an invitation so devilry. Gower's 
idea of the story of Carinthia inclined to charge Lord 
Fleetwood with every possible false dealing. He then 
quashed the charge, and decided to wait for information. 

At the second of the aristocratic Clubs of London's 
West, iiito which he stepped like an easy member, the 
hall-porter did not examine his clothing from German 
hat to boots, and gave him Lord Fleetwood's town 
address. He could tell Madge at night by the door of 
the shuttered shop, that Lord Fleetwood had gone down 
to Wales. 

'It means her having to wait,' she said. 'The 
minister has been to the coach-office, to order up 
her box from that inn. He did it in his name; 
they can't refuse ; no money 's owing. She must 
have a change. Sally has fifteen pounds locked up in 
case of need.' 



THE GIRL MADGE 203 

Sally's capacity and economy fetched the penniless 
philosopher a slap. 

'You 've taken to this lady/ he said. 

'She held my hand, while Kit Ines was at his work; 
and I was new to her, and a prize-fighter's lass, they 
call me : — upon the top of that nobleman's coach, where 
he made me sit, behind her, to see the fight; and she 
his wedded lady that morning. A queer groom. He 
may keep Kit Ines from drink, he 's one of you men, and 
rides over anything in his way. I can't speak about it ; 
I could swear it before a judge, from what I know. 
Those Rundles at that inn don't hear anything it suits 
him to do. All the people down in those parts are slaves 
to him. And I thought he was a real St. George before, 
— yes, ready I was to kiss the ground his feet crossed. 
If you could, it 's Chinningfold near where Admiral 
Fakenham lives, down Hampshire way. Her friends 
ought to hear what 's happened to her. They '11 find 
her in a queer place. She might go to the minister's. 
I believe she 's happier with us girls.' 

Gower pledged his word to start for Chinningfold early 
as the light next day. He liked the girl the better, in 
an amicable fashion, now that his nerves had got free of 
the transient spell of her kettle tone — the hardly varied 
one note of a heart boiling with sisterly devotion to a 
misused stranger of her sex; — and, after the way of his 
race, imagination sprang up in him, at the heels of the 
quieted senses, releasing him from the personal and 
physical to grasp the general situation and place the 
protagonist foremost. 

He thought of Carinthia, with full vision of her. Some 
wrong had been done, or some violation of the right, 
to guess from the girl Madge's molten words in avoid- 
ance of the very words. It implied — though it might 
be but one of Love's shrewder discords — such suspected 



204 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

traitorous dealing of a man with their sister woman as 
makes the world of women all woman toward her. They 
can be that, and their being so illuminates their hidden 
sentiments in relation to the mastering male, whom they 
uphold. 

But our uninformed philosopher was merely picking 
up scraps of sheddings outside the dark wood of the 
mystery they were to him, and playing imagination 
upon them. This primary element of his nature soon 
enthroned his chosen lady above their tangled ob- 
scurities. Beneath her tranquil beams, with the rapture 
of the knowledge that her name on earth was Livia, he 
threaded East London's thoroughfares, on a morning 
when day and night were made one by fog, to journey 
down to Chiimingfold, by coach, in the service of the 
younger Countess of Fleetwood, whose right to the 
title he did not doubt, though it directed surprise move- 
ments at his understanding from time to time. , 



CHAPTER XX 

STUDIES IN FOG, GOUT, AN OLD SEAMAN, A LOVELY SER- 
PENT, AND THE MORAL EFFECTS THAT MAY COME OP 
A BORROWED SHIRT 

Money of his father's enabled Gower to take the coach ; 
and studies in fog, from the specked brown to the woolly 
white, and the dripping torn, were proposed to the 
traveller, whose preference of Nature's face did not arrest 
his observation of her domino and petticoats; across 
which blank sheets he curiously read backward, that he 
journeyed by the aid of his father's hard-earned, un- 
grudged piece of gold. Without it, he would have been 



STUDIES IN FOG, ETC. 205 

useless in this case of need. The philosopher coiild 
starve with equanimity, and be the stronger. But one 
had, it seemed here clearly, to put on harness and trudge 
along a line, if the unhappy were to have one's help. 
Gradual experiences of his business among his fellows 
were teaching an exercised mind to learn in regions 
where minds unexercised were doctorial giants beside 
it. 

The study of gout was offered at Chinningfold. Admiral 
Fakenham's butler refused at first to take a name to 
his master. Gower persisted, stating the business of his 
mission; and in spite of the very suspicious glib good 
English spoken by a man wearing such a hat and suit, 
the butler was induced to consult Mrs. Carthew. 

She sprang up alarmed. After having seen the young 
lady happily married and off with her lordly young hus- 
band, the arrival of a messenger from the bride gave a stir 
the wrong way to her flowing recollections; the scenes 
and incidents she had smothered under her love of the 
comfortable stood forth appallingly. The messenger, the 
butler said, was no gentleman. She inspected Gower 
and heard him speak. An anomaly had come to the 
house; for he had the language of a gentleman, the 
appearance of a nondescript; he looked indifferent, he 
spoke sympathetically ; and he was frank as soon as the 
butler was out of hearing. In return for the compliment, 
she invited him to her sitting-room. The story of the 
young countess, whom she had seen driven away by her 
husband from the church in a coach and four, as being 
now destitute, praying to see her friends, in the White- 
chapel of London — the noted haunt of thieves and 
outcasts, bankrupts and the abandoned; set her asking 
for the first time, who was the man with dreadful coun- 
tenance inside the coach? A previously disregarded 
horror of a man. She went trembling to the admiral. 



206 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

though his health was dehcate, his temper excitable. It 
was, she considered, an occasion for braving the doctor's 
interdict. 

Gower was presently summoned to the chamber 
where Admiral Fakenham reclined on cushions in an 
edifice of an arm-chair. He told a plain tale. Its effect 
was to straighten the admiral's back, and enlarge in 
grey glass a pair of sea-blue eyes. And, ' What 's that ? 
Whitechapel ? ' the admiral exclaimed, — at high pitch, 
far above his understanding. The particulars were re- 
peated, whereupon the sick-room shook with, 'Green- 
grocer?' He stunned himself with another of the 
monstrous points in his pet girl's honeymoon : ' A prize- 
fight?' 

To refresh a saving incredulity, he took a closer view 
of the messenger. Gower's habiliments were those of 
the 'queer fish,' the admiral saw. But the meeting at 
Carlsruhe was recalled to him, and there was a worthy 
effort to remember it. ' Prize-fight ! — Greengrocer ! — 
Whitechapel ! ' he rang the changes rather more moder- 
ately ; till, swelling and purpling, he cried : ' Where 's 
the husband?' 

That was the emissary's question likewise. 

'If I could have found him, sir, I should not have 
troubled you.' 

'Disappeared? Plays the man of his word, then 
plays the madman ! Prize-fight the first day of her 
honeymoon? Good Lord ! Leaves her at the inn?' 

'She was left.' 

'When was she left?' 

'As soon as the fight was over — as far as I under- 
stand.' 

The admiral showered briny masculine comments oa 
that bridegroom. 

'Her brother's travelling somewhere in the Pyrenees 



STUDIES IN FOG, ETC. 207 

— married my daughter. She has an uncle, a hermit.' 
He became pale. 'I must do it. The rascal insults 
us all. Flings her off the day he married her ! It 's a 
slap in the face to all of us. You are acquainted with 
the lady, sir. Would you call her a red-haired girl ? ' 

'Red-gold of the ballads; chestnut-brown, with 
threads of fire.' 

'She has the eyes for a man to swear by. I feel the 
loss of her, I can tell you. She was wine -and no penalty 
to me. Is she much broken under it ? — if I 'm to credit 
... I suppose I must. It floors me.' 

Admiral Baldwin's frosty stare returned on him. 
Gower caught an image of it, as comparable, without 
much straining, to an Arctic region smitten by the 
beams. 

'Nothing breaks her courage,' he said. 

'To be sure, my poor dear! Who could have guessed 
when she left my house she was on her way to a prize- 
fight and a greengrocer's in Whitechapel. But the 
dog 's not mad, though his bite 's bad ; he 's an eccentric 
mongrel. He wants the whip; ought to have had it 
regularly from his first breeching. He shall whistle for 
her when he repents ; and he will, mark me. This gout 
here will be having a snap at the vitals if I don't start 
to-night. Oblige me, half a minute.' 

The admiral stretched his hand for an arm to give 
support, stood, and dropped into the chair, signifying 
a fit of giddiness in the word 'Head.' 

Before the stupor had passed, Mrs. Carthew entered, 
anxious lest the admittance of a messenger of evil to 
her invalid should have been an error of judgement. 
The butler had argued it with her. She belonged to 
the list of persons appointed to cut life's thread when 
it strains, their general kindness being so liable to mis- 
direction. 



208 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Gower left tlie room and went into the garden. He 
had never seen a death; and the admiral's peculiar 
pallor intimated events proper to days of cold mist and 
a dripping stillness. How we go, was the question 
among his problems : — if we are to go ! his youthful 
frame insistingly added. 

The fog down a wet laurel-walk contracted his mind 
with the chilling of his blood, and he felt that he would 
have to see the thing if he was to believe in it. Of 
course he believed, but life throbbed rebelliously, and 
a picture of a desk near a lively fire-grate, books and 
pen and paper, and a piece of writing to be approved 
of by the Hesper of ladies, held ground with a pathetic 
heroism against the inevitable. He got his wits to the 
front by walking faster ; and then thought of the young 
countess and the friend she might be about to lose. She 
could number her friends on her fingers. Admiral 
Fakenham's exclamations of the name of the place 
where she now was, conveyed an inky idea of the fall 
she had undergone. Counting her absent brother, with 
himself, his father, and the two Whitechapel girls, it 
certainly was an unexampled fall, to say of her, that 
they and those two girls had become by the twist of cir- 
cumstances the most serviceable of her friends. 

Her husband was the unriddled riddle we have in the 
wealthy young lord, — ^burning to possess, and making 
tatters of all he grasped, the moment it was his own. 
Glints of the devilish had shot from him at the gaming- 
tables, — fine haunts for the study of our lower man. 
He could be magnificent in generosity; he had little 
humaneness. He coveted beauty in women hungrily, 
and seemed to be born hostile to them; or so Gower 
judged by the light of the later evidence on unconsidered 
antecedent observations of him. Why marry her to 
cast her off instantly? The crude philosopher asked 



STUDIES IN FOG, ETC. 209 

it as helplessly as the admiral. And, further, what did 
the girl Madge mean by the drop of her voice to a hum 
of enforced endurance under injury, like the furnace 
behind an iron door? Older men might have under- 
stood, as he was aware; he might have guessed, only 
he had the habit of scattering meditation upon the game 
of hawk and fowl. 

Dame Gossip boils. Her one idea of animation is to 
have her dramatis personce in violent motion, always 
the biggest foremost; and, indeed, that is the way to 
make them credible, for the wind they raise and the 
succession of collisions. The fault of the method is, 
that they do not instruct ; so the breath is out of them 
before they are put aside ; for the uninstructive are the 
humanly deficient : they remain with us like the toler- 
ated old aristocracy, which may not govern, and is but 
socially seductive. The deuteragonist or secondary 
person can at times tell us more of them than circum- 
stances at furious heat will help them to reveal; and 
the Dame will have him only as an index-post. Hence 
her endless ejaculations over the mystery of Life, the 
inscrutability of character, — in a plain world, in the midst 
of such readable people ! To preserve Romance (we 
exchange a sky for a ceiling if we let it go), we must be 
inside the heads of our people as well as the hearts, 
more than shaking the kaleidoscope of hurried spectacles, 
in days of a growing activity of the head. 

Gower Woodseer could not know that he was drawn 
on to fortune and the sight of his Hesper by Admiral 
Fakenham's order that the visitor was to stay at his 
house until he should be able to quit his bed, and 
journey with him to London, doctor or no doctor. The 
doctor would not hear of it. The admiral threatened 
it every night for the morning, every morning for the 
night; and Gower had to submit to postponements 



210 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

balefuUy affecting his linen. Remonstrance was not to 
be thought of; for at a mere show of reluctance the 
courtly admiral flushed, frowned, and beat the bed 
where he lay, a gouty volcano. Gower's one shirt was 
passing through the various complexions, and had 
approached the Nubian on its way to negro. His natural 
candour checked the downward course. He mentioned 
to Mrs. Carthew, with incidental gravity, on a morning 
at breakfast, that this article of his attire 'was beginning 
to resemble London snow.' She was amused; she 
promised him a change more resembling country snow. 

'It will save me from buttoning so high up,' he said, 
as he thanked her. 

She then remembered the daily increase of stiffness 
in his figure : and a reflection upon his patient waiting, 
and simpleness, and lexicographer speech to expose his 
minor needs, touched her unused sense of humour on 
the side where it is tender in women, from being motherly. 

In consequence, she spoke of him with a pleading 
warmth to the Countess Livia, who had come down to 
see the admiral 'concerning an absurd but annoying 
rumour running over London.' Gower was out for a 
walk. He knew of the affair, Mrs. Carthew said, for 
an introduction to her excuses of his clothing. 

'But I know the man,' said Livia. 'Lord Fleetwood 
picked him up somewhere, and brought him to us. 
Clever. Why, is he here?' 

'He is here, sent to the admiral, as I understand, my 
lady.' 

'Sent by whom?' 

Having but a weak vocabulary to defend a delicate 
position, Mrs. Carthew stuttered into evasions, after 
the way of ill-armed persons; and naming herself a 
stranger to the circumstances, she feebly suggested 
that the admiral ought not to be disturbed before the 



STUDIES IN FOG, ETC. 211 

doctor's next visit; Mr. Woodseer had been allowed 
to sit by his bed yesterday only for ten minutes, to 
divert him with his talk. She protected in this wretched 
manner the poor gentleman she sacrificed and emitted 
such a smell of secresy, that Livia wrote three words 
on her card, for it to be taken to Admiral Baldwin 
at once. Mrs. Carthew supplicated faintly; she was 
unheeded. 

The Countess of Fleetwood mounted the stairs — to 
descend them with the knowledge of her being the 
Dowager Countess of Fleetwood ! Henrietta had spoken 
of the Countess of Fleetwood's hatred of the title of 
Dowager. But when Lady Fleetwood had the fact from 
the admiral, would she forbear to excite him? If she 
repudiated it, she would provoke him to fire 'one of 
his broadsides,' as they said in the family, to assert 
it; and that might exhaust him; and there was peril 
in that. And who was guilty? Mrs. Carthew con- 
fessed her guilt, asking how it could have been avoided. 
She made appeal to Gower on his return, transfixing him. 

Not only is he no philosopher who has an idol, he 
has to learn that he cannot think rationally; his due 
sense of weight and measure is lost, the choice of his 
thoughts as well. He was in the house with his de- 
voutly, simply worshipped, pearl of women, and his 
whole mind fell to work without ado upon the extrava- 
gant height of the admiral's shirt-collar cutting his ears. 
The very beating of his heart was perplexed to know 
whether it was for rapture or annoyance. As a result 
he was but histrionically master of himself when the 
Countess Livia or the nimbus of the lady appeared in 
the room. 

She received his bow; she directed Mrs. Carthew to 
have the doctor summoned immediately. The remorse- 
ful woman flew. 



212 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Admiral Fakenham is very ill, Mr. Woodseer, he 
has had distracting news. Oh, no, the messenger is not 
blamed. You are Lord Fleetwood's friend and will not 
allow him to be prejudged. He will be in town shortly. 
I know him well, you know him; and could you hear 
him accused of cruelty — and to a woman? He is the 
soul of chivalry. So, in his way, is the admiral. If he 
were only more patient ! Let us wait for Lord Fleet- 
wood's version. I am certain it will satisfy me. The 
admiral wishes you to step up to him. Be very quiet; 
you will be; consent to everything. I was unaware of 
his condition : the things I heard were incredible. I 
hope the doctor will not delay. Now go. Beg to retire 
soon.' 

Livia spoke under her breath ; she had fears. 

Admiral Baldwin lay in his bed, submitting to a 
nurse-woman — sign of extreme exhaustion. He plucked 
strength from the sight of Gower and bundled the woman 
out of the room, muttering : ' Kill myself ? Not half 
so quick as they 'd do it. I can't rest for that White- 
chapel of yours. Please fetch pen and paper : it 's a 
letter.' 

The letter began, 'Dear Lady Arpington.' 

The dictation of it came in starts. At one moment 
it seemed as if life's ending shook the curtains on our 
stage and were about to lift. An old friend in the reader 
of the letter would need no excuse for its jerky brevity. 
It said that his pet girl. Miss Kirby, was married to the 
Earl of Fleetwood in the first week of last month, and 
was now to be found at a shop No. 45 Longways, White- 
chapel ; that the writer was ill, unable to stir ; that he 
would be in London within eight-and-forty hours at 
furthest. He begged Lady Arpington to send down to 
the place and have the young countess fetched to her, 
and keep her until he came. 



STUDIES IN FOG, ETC. 213 

Admiral Baldwin sat up to sign the letter. 

'Yes, and write "miracles happen when the devil's 
abroad" — done it!' he said, sinking back. 'Now seal, 
you '11 find wax — the ring at my watch-chain.' 

He sighed, as it were the sound of his very last; he 
lay like a sleeper twitched by a dream. There had 
been a scene with Livia. The dictating of the letter 
took his remainder of strength out of him. 

Gower called in the nurse, and went downstairs. 
He wanted the address of Lady Arpington's town house. 

'You have a letter for her?' said Livia, and held her 
hand for it in a way not to be withstood. 

'There 's no superscription,' he remarked. 

'I will see to that, Mr. Woodseer.' 

'I fancy I am bound. Lady Fleetwood.' 

'By no means.' She touched his arm. 'You are 
Lord Fleetwood's friend.' 

A slight convulsion of the frame struck the admiral's 
shirt-collar at his ears; it virtually prostrated him 
under foot of a lady so benign in overlooking the spec- 
tacle he presented. Still, he considered; he had wits 
alive enough, just to perceive a duty. 

'The letter was entrusted to me. Lady Fleetwood.' 

'You are afraid to entrust it to the post?' 

'I was thinking of delivering it myself in town.' 

'You will entrust it to me.' 

'Anything on earth of my own.' 

'The treasure would be valued. This you confide 
to my care.' 

'It is important.' 

'No.' 

'Indeed it is.' 

'Say that it is, then. It is quite safe with me. It 
may be important that it should not be delivered. Are 
^ou not Lord Fleetwood's friend? Lady Arpington is 



214 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

not so very, very prominent in the list with you and 
me. Besides, I don't think she has come to town yet. 
She generally sees out the end of the hunting season. 
Leave the letter to me: it shall go. You, with your 
keen observation missing nothing, have seen that my 
uncle has not his whole judgement at present. There 
are two sides to a case. Lord Fleetwood's friend will 
know that it would be unfair to offer him up to his 
enemies while he is absent. Things going favourably 
here, I drive back to town to-morrow, and I hope you 
will accept a seat in my carriage.' 

He delivered his courtliest ; he was riding on cloud. 

They talked of Baden. His honourable surrender of 
her defeated purse was a subject for gentle humour with 
her, venturesome compliment with him. He spoke well ; 
and though his hands were clean of Sir Meeson Corby's 
reproach of them, the caricature of presentable men 
blushed absurdly and seemed uneasy in his monstrous 
collar. The touching of him again would not be re- 
quired to set him pacing to her steps. His hang of 
the head testified to the unerring stamp of a likeness 
Captain Abrane could affix with a stroke: he looked 
the fiddler over his bow, playing wonderfully to conceal 
the crack of a string. The merit of being one of her 
army of admirers was accorded to him. The letter to 
Lady Arpington was retained. 

Gower deferred the further mention of the letter 
until a visit to the admiral's chamber should furnish 
an excuse ; and he had to wait for it. Admiral Baldwin's 
condition was becoming ominous. He sent messages 
downstairs by the doctor, forbidding his guest's departure 
until they two could make the journey together next 
day. The tortured and blissful young man, stripped 
of his borrowed philosopher's cloak, hung conscience- 
ridden in this delicious bower, which was perceptibly 



GLIMPSES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 215 

an antechamber of the vaults, offering him the study he 
thirsted for, shrank from, and mixed with his cup of 
amorous worship. 



CHAPTER XXI 

IN WHICH WE HAVE FURTHER GLIMPSES OP THE WONDROUS 
MECHANISM OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 

The report of Admiral Baldwin Fakenham as having 
died in the arms of a stranger visiting the house, hit 
nearer the mark than usual. He yielded his last breath 
as Gower Woodseer was lowering him to his pillow, shortly 
after a husky whisper of the letter to Lady Arpington; 
and that was one of Gower's crucial trials. It condemned 
him, for the pacifying of a dying man, to the murmur 
and shufHe, which was a lie; and the lie burnt him, 
contributed to the brand on his race. He and his father 
upheld a solitary bare staff, where the Cambrian flag 
had flown, before their people had been trampled in mire, 
to do as the worms. His loathing of any shadow of the 
lie was a protest on behalf of Welsh blood against an 
English charge, besides the passion for spiritual cleanli- 
ness : without which was no comprehension, therefore 
no enjoyment, of Nature possible to him. For Nature 
is the Truth. 

He begged the countess to let him have the letter; 
he held to the petition, with supplications; he spoke 
of his pledged word, his honour; and her countenance 
did n9t deny to such an object as she beheld the right 
to a sense of honour. 'We all have the sentiment, I 
hope, Mr. Woodseer,' she said, stupefying the worshipper, 
who did" not see it manifested. There was a look of 
gentle intimacy, expressive of common grounds between 



216 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

them, accompanying the dead words. Mistress of the 
letter, and the letter safe under lock, the admiral dead, 
she had not to bestow a touch of her hand on his coat- 
sleeve in declining to return it. A face languidly and 
benevolently querulous was bent on him, when he, so 
clever a man, resumed his very silly petition. 

She was moon out of cloud at a change of the theme. 
Gower journeyed to London without the letter, in- 
toxicated, and conscious of poison; enamoured of it, 
and straining for health. He had to reflect at the 
journey's end, that he had picked up nothing on the 
road, neither a thing observed nor a thing imagined; 
he was a troubled pool instead of a flowing river. 

The best help to health for him was a day in his father's 
house. We are perpetually at our comparisons of our- 
selves with others; and they are mostly profitless; 
but the man carrying his religious light, to light the 
darkest ways of his fellows, and keeping good cheer, 
as though the heart of him ran a mountain water through 
the grimy region, plucked at Gower with an envy to 
resemble him in practice. His philosophy, too, re- 
proached him for being outshone. Apart from his 
philosophy, he stood confessed a bankrupt; and it had 
dwindled to near extinction. Adoration of a woman 
takes the breath out of philosophy. And if one had 
only to say sheer donkey, he consenting to be driven by 
her ! One has to say worse in this case ; for the words 
are, liar and traitor. 

Carinthia's attitude toward his father conduced to 
his emulous respect for the old man, below whom, and 
indeed below the roadway of ordinary principles hedged 
with dull texts, he had strangely fallen. The sight of 
her lashed him. She made, it her business or it was her 
pleasure to go the rounds beside Mr. Woodseer visiting 
his poor people. She spoke of the scenes she witnessed. 



GLIMPSES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 217 

and threw no stress on the wretchedness, having only 
the wish to assist in ministering. Probably the great 
wretchedness bubbling over the place blunted her feel- 
ing of loss at the word of Admiral Baldwin's end; her 
bosom sprang up: 'He was next to father,' was all she 
said; and she soon reverted to this and that house of 
the lodgings of poverty. She had descended on the 
world. There was of course a world outside White- 
chapel, but Whitechapel was hot about her; the nests 
of misery, the sharp note of want in the air, tricks of 
an urchin who had amused her. 

As to the place itself, she had no judgement to pro- 
nounce, except that: 'They have no mornings here'; 
and the childish remark set her quivering on her heights, 
like one seen through a tear, in Gower's memory. Scarce 
anything of her hungry impatience to meet her husband 
was visible : she had come to London to meet him ; 
she hoped to meet him soon : before her brother's return, 
she could have added. She mentioned the goodness of 
Sarah Winch in not allowing that she was a burden to 
support. Money and its uses had impressed her; the 
quantity possessed by some, the utter need of it for the 
first of human purposes by others. Her speech was not 
of so halting or foreign an English. She grew rapidly 
wherever she was planted. 

Speculation on the conduct of her husband, empty 
as it might be, was necessitated in Gower. He pursued 
it, and listened to his father similarly at work : ' A young 
lady fit for any station, the kindest of souls, a born 
charitable human creature, void of pride, near in all 
she does and thinks to the Shaping Hand, why should 
her husband forsake her on the day of their nuptials ! 
She is most gracious; the simplicity of an infant. Can 
you imagine the doing of an injury by a man to a woman 
like her?' 



218 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Then it was that Gower screwed himself to say : — 

' Yes, I can imagine it, I 'm doing it myself. I shall 
be doing it till I 've written a letter and paid a 
visit.' 

He took a meditative stride or two in the room, think- 
ing without revulsion of the Countess Livia under a 
similitude of the bell of the plant henbane, and that 
his father had immunity from temptation because of 
the insensibility to beauty. Out of which he passed 
to the writing of the letter to Lord Fleetwood, inform- 
ing his lordship that he intended immediately to deliver 
a message to the Marchioness of Arpington from Admiral 
Baldwin Fakenham, in relation to the Countess of Fleet- 
wood. A duty was easily done by Gower when he had 
surmounted the task of conceiving his resolution to do 
it ; and this task, involving an offence to the Lady Livia 
and intrusion of his name on a nobleman's recollection, 
ranked next in severity to the chopping off of his fingers 
by a man suspecting them of the bite of rabies. 

An interview with Lady Arpington was granted him 
the following day. 

She was a florid, aquiline, loud-voiced lady, evidently 
having no seat for her wonderments, after his account 
of the origin of his acquaintance with the admiral had 
quieted her suspicions. The world had only to stand 
beside her, and it would hear what she had heard. She 
rushed to the conclusion that Lord Fleetwood had 
married a person of no family. 

'Really, really, that young man's freaks appear de- 
signed for the express purpose of heightening our amaze- 
ment!' she exclaimed. 'He won't easily get beyond 
a wife in the east of London, at a shoTp ; but there 's no 
knowing. Any wish of Admiral Baldwin Fakenham's 
I hold sacred. At least I can see for myself. You can't 
tell me more of the facts ? If Lord Fleetwood 's in town, 



GLIMPSES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 219 

I will call him here at once. I will drive down to this 
address you give me. She is a civU person?' 

' Her breeding is perfect,' said Gower. 

'Perfect breeding, you say'?' Lady Arpington was 
reduced to a murmur. She considered the speaker : his 
outlandish garb, his unprotesting self-possession. He 
spoke good English by habit, her ear told her. She was 
of an eminence to judge of a man impartially, even to 
the sufferance of an opinion from him, on a subject that 
lesser ladies would have denied to his clothing. Out- 
wardly simple, naturally frank, though a tangle of the 
complexities inwardly, he was a touchstone for true 
aristocracy, as the humblest who bear the main elements 
of it must be. Certain humorous turns in his conver- 
sation won him an amicable smile when he bowed to 
leave : they were the needed finish of a favourable 
impression. 

One day later the earl arrived in town, read Gower 
Woodseer's brief words, and received the consequently 
expected summons, couched in a great lady's plain im- 
perative. She was connected with his family on the 
paternal side. 

He went obediently; not unwillingly, let the deputed 
historian of the Marriage, turning over documents, here 
say. He went to Lady Arpington disposed for marital 
hmnaneness and jog-trot harmony, by condescension; 
equivalent to a submitting to the drone of an incessant 
psalm at the drum of the ear. He was, in fact, rather 
more than inclined that way. When very young, at the 
age of thirteen, a mood of religious fervour had spirit- 
ualized the dulness of Protestant pew and pulpit for him. 
Another fit of it, in the Roman Catholic direction, had 
proposed, during his latest dilemma, to relieve him of 
the burden of his pledged word. He had plunged for 
a short space into the rapturous contemplation of a 



220 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

monastic life — 'the clean soul for the macerated flesh/ 
as that fellow Woodseer said once : and such as his 
friend, the Roman Catholic Lord Feltre, moodily talked 
of getting in his intervals. He had gone down to a 
young and novel trial establishment of English peni- 
tents in the forest of a Midland county, and had watched 
and envied, and seen the escape from a lifelong bondage 
to the 'beautiful Gorgon,' under cover of a white flannel 
frock. The world pulled hard, and he gave his body 
into chains of a woman, to redeem his word. 

But there was a plea on behalf of this woman. The 
life she offered might have psalmic iteration; the dead 
monotony of it in prospect did, nevertheless, exorcise a 
devil. Carinthia promised, it might seem, to chase and 
keep the black beast out of him permanently, as she 
could, he now conceived : for since the day of the marriage 
with her, the devil inhabiting him had at least been 
easier, ' up in a corner.' 

He held an individual memory of his bride, rose- veiled, 
secret to them both, that made them one, by subduing 
him. For it was a charm; an actual feminine, an un- 
anticipated personal, charm; past reach of tongue to 
name, wordless in thought. There, among the folds of 
the incense vapours of our heart's holy of holies, it hung ; 
and it was rare, it was distinctive of her, and alluring, 
if one consented to melt to it, and accepted for com- 
pensation the exorcising of a devil. 

Oh, but no mere devil by title ! — a very devil. It 
was alert and frisky, flushing, filling the thin cold idea 
of Henrietta at a thought; and in the thought it made 
Carinthia's intimate charm appear as no better than a 
thing to enrich a beggar, while he knew that kings could 
never command the charm. Not love, only the bathing 
in Henrietta's incomparable beauty and the desire to be, 
desire to have been, the casket of it, broke the world to 



GLIMPSES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 221 

tempest and lightnings at a view of Henrietta the married 
woman — ^married to the brother of the woman caUing 
him husband: — 'It is my husband.' The young tyrant 
of wealth could have avowed that he did not love Henri- 
etta ; but not the less was he in the swing of a whiriwind 
at the hint of her loving the man she had married. Did 
she? It might be tried. 

She? That Henrietta is one of the creatures who 
love pleasure, love flattery, love their beauty : they 
cannot love a man. Or the love is a ship that will not 
sail a sea. 

Now, if the fact were declared and attested, if her 
shallowness were seen proved, one might get free of the 
devil she plants in the breast. Absolutely to despise 
her would be release, and it would allow of his tasting 
Carinthia's charm, reluctantly acknowledged; not 
'money of the country' beside that golden Henrietta's. 

Yet who can say? — women are such deceptions. 
Often their fairest, apparently sweetest, when brought 
to the keenest of the tests, are graceless; or worse, 
artificially consonant; in either instance barren of the 
poetic. Thousands of the confidently expectant among 
men have been unbewitched; a lamentable process; 
and the grimly reticent and the loudly discursive are 
equally eloquent of the pretty general disillusion. How 
they loathe and tear the mask of the sham attraction that 
snatched them to the hag yoke, and fell away to show 
its grisly horrors within the round of the month, if not 
the second enumeration of twelve by the clock ! Fleet- 
wood had heard certain candid seniors talk, delivering 
their minds in superior appreciation of unpretentious 
boor wenches, nature's products, not esteemed by him. 
Well, of a truth, she — 'Red Hair and Rugged Brows,' 
as the fellow Woodseer had called her, in alternation with 
' Mountain Face to Sun' — she at the unveiling was gentle, 



222 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

surpassingly; graceful in the furnace of the trial. She 
wore through the critic ordeal his burning sensitiveness to 
grace and delicacy cast about a woman, and was rather 
better than not withered by it. 

On the borders between maidenly and wifely, she, 
a thing of flesh like other daughters of earth, had im- 
pressed her sceptical lord, inclining to contempt of 
her and detestation of his bargain, as a flitting hue, 
sethereal, a transfiguration of earthliness in the core of 
the earthly furnace. And how? — but that it must 
have been the naked shining forth of her character, 
startled to show itself: — 'It is my husband': — it must 
have been love. 

The love that they versify, and strum on guitars, 
and go crazy over, and end by roaring at as the delu- 
sion; this common bloom of the ripeness of a season; 
this would never have utterly captured a sceptic, to 
vanquish him in his mastery, snare him in her surrender. 
It must have been the veritable passion: a flame kept 
alive by vestal ministrants in the yew-wood of the 
forest of Old Romance; planted only in the breasts of 
very favourite maidens. Love had eyes, love had a voice 
that night, — ^love was the explicable magic lifting terres- 
trial to seraphic. Though, true, she had not Henrietta's 
golden smoothness of beauty. Henrietta, illumined with 
such a love, would outdo all legends, all dreams of the tale 
of love. Would she? For credulous men she would 
be golden coin of the currency. She would not have a 
particular wild flavour : charm as of the running doe 
that has taken a dart and rolls an eye to burst the hunter's 
heart with pity. 

Fleetwood went his way to Lady Arpington almost 
complacently, having fought and laid his wilder self. 
He might be likened to the doctor's patient entering 
the chemist's shop, with a prescription for a drug of 



A RIGHT-MINDED GREAT LADY 223 

healing virtue, upon which the palate is as little con- 
sulted as a robustious loUypop boy in the household of 
ceremonial parents, who have rung for the troop of their 
orderly domestics to sit in a row and hearken the in- 
* tonation of good words. 



CHAPTER XXII 

A RIGHT-MINDED GREAT LADY 

The bow, the welcome, and the introductory remarks 
passed rapidly as the pull at two sides of a curtain open- 
ing on a scene that stiffens courtliness to hard attention. 

After the names of Admiral Baldwin and 'the Mr. 
Woodseer,' the name of Whitechapel was mentioned by 
Lady Arpington. It might have been the name of any 
other place. 

'Ah, so far, then, I have to instruct you,' she said, 
observing the young earl. 'I drove down there yester- 
day. I saw the lady calling herself Countess of Fleet- 
wood. By right? She was a Miss Kirby.' 

'She has the right,' Fleetwood said, standing well up 
out of a discharge of musketry. 

'Marriage not contested. You knew of her being in 
that place? — I can't describe it.' 

' Your ladyship will pardon me ? ' 

London's frontier of barbarism was named for him 
again, and in a tone to penetrate. 

He refrained from putting the question of how she 
had come there. 

As iron as he looked, he said : ' She stays there by 
choice.' 

The great lady tapped her foot on the floor. 

'You are not acquainted with the district.' 



224 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

' One of my men comes out of it.' 

'The coming out of it ! . . . However, I under- 
stand her story, that she travelled from a village inn, 
where she had been left— ^without resources. She waited 
weeks; I forget how many. She has a description of 
maid in attendance on her. She came to London to 
find her husband. You were at the mines, we heard. 
Her one desire is to meet her husband. But, goodness ! 
Fleetwood, why do you frown? You acknowledge the 
marriage, she has the name of the church; she was 
married out of that old Lord Levellier's house. You 
drove her — I won't repeat the flighty business. You 
left her, and she did her best to follow you. Will the 
young men of our time not learn that life is no longer a 
game when they have a woman for partner in the match ! 
You don't complain of her flavour of a foreign manner? 
She can't be so very . . . Admiral Baldwin's daughter 
has married her brother; and he is a military oSicer. 
She has germs of breeding, wants only a little rub of the 
world to smooth her. Speak to the point: — do you 
meet her here? Do you refuse?' 

'At present? I do.' 

' Something has to be done.' 

'She was bound to stay where I left her.' 

'You are bound to provide for her becomingly.' 

'Provision shall be made, of course.' 

'The story will . . . unless — and quickly, too.' 

'I know, I know !' 

Fleetwood had the clang of all the bells of London 
chiming Whitechapel at him in his head, and he be- 
trayed the irritated tyrant ready to decree fire and 
sword, for the defence or solace of his tender sensibilities. 

The black flash flew. 

'It's a thing to mend as well as one can,' Lady 
Arpington said. ' I am not inquisitive : you had your 



A RIGHT-MINDED GREAT LADY 225 

reasons or chose to act without any. Get her away 
from that place. She won't come to me unless it 's to 
meet her husband. Ah, well, temper does not solve 
your problem; husband you are, if you married her. 
We '11 leave the husband undiscussed : with this reserve, 
that it seems to me men are now beginning to play the 
misunderstood.' 

'I hope they know themselves better,' said Fleet- 
wood; and he begged for the name and number of the 
house in the Whitechapel street, where she who was 
discernibly his enemy, and the deadliest of enemies, 
had now her dwelling. 

Her immediate rush to that place, the fixing of her- 
self there for an assault on him, was a move worthy the 
daughter of the rascal Old Buccaneer; it compelled 
to urgent measures. He, as he felt horribly in pencil- 
ling her address, acted under compulsion ; and a woman 
prodded the goad. Her mask of ingenuousness was 
flung away for a look of craft, which could be power; 
and with her changed aspect his tolerance changed to 
hatred. 

'A shop,' Lady Arpington explained for his better 
direction: 'potatoes, vegetable stuff. Honest people, 
I am to believe. She is indifferent to her food, she 
says. She works, helping one of their ministers — one 
of their denominations : heaven knows what they call 
themselves ! Anything to escape from the Church ! 
She 's likely to become a Methodist. With Lord Feltre 
proselytizing for his Papist creed, Lord Pitscrew a 
declared Mohammedan, we shall have a pretty English 
aristocracy in time. Well, she may claim to belong to 
it now. She would not be persuaded against visitations 
to pestiferous hovels. What else is there to do in such 
a place? She goes about catching diseases to avoid 
bilious melancholy in the dark back room of a small 



226 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

greengrocer's shop in Whitechapel. There you have 
the word for the Countess of Fleetwood's present address.' 

It drenched him with ridicule. 

'I am indebted to your ladyship for the information,' 
he said, and maintained his rigidity. 

The great lady stiffened. 

' I am obliged to ask you whether you intend to act on it 
at once. The admiral has gone; I am in some sort 
deputed as a guardian to her, and I warn you — very 
well, very well. In your own interests, it will be. If 
she is left there another two or three days, the name of 
the place will stick to her.' 

'She has baptized herself with it already, I imagine,' 
said Fleetwood. 'She will have Esslemont to live in.' 

' There will be more than one to speak as to that. You 
should know her.' 
; 'I do not know her.' 

'You married her.' 

'The circumstances are admitted.' 
' 'If I may hazard a guess, she is unlikely to come to 
terms without a previous interview. She is bent on 
meeting you.' 

'I am to be subjected to further annoyance, or she 
will take the name of the place she at present inhabits, 
and bombard me with it. Those are the terms.' 

'She has a brother living, I remind you.' 

'State the deduction, if you please, my lady.' 

'She is not of a totally inferior family.' 

'She had a father famous over England as the Old 
Buccaneer, and is a diligent reader of his book of Maxims 
FOR Men.' 

' Dear me ! Then Kirby — Captain Kirby ! I re- 
member. That 's her origin, is it ? ' the great lady 
cried, illumined. 'My mother used to talk of the 
Cressett scandal. Old Lady Arpington, too. At any 



A RIGHT-MINDED GREAT LADY 227 

rate, it ended in their union — the formalities were prop- 
erly respected, as soon as they could be.' 

'I am unaware.' 

'I detest such a tone of speaking. Speaking as you 
do now — married to the daughter? You are not your- 
self, Lord Fleetwood.' 

'Quite, ma'am, let me assure you. Otherwise the 
Kirby-Cressetts would be dictating to me from the 
muzzle of one of the old rapscallion's Maxims. They 
will learn that I am myself.' 

'You don't improve as you proceed. I tell you this, 
you '11 not have me for a friend. You have your troops 
of satellites; but take it as equal to a prophecy, you 
won't have London with you; and you '11 hear of Lord 
Fleetwood and his Whitechapel Countess till your ears 
ache.' 

The preluding box on them reddened him. 

'She will have the offer of Esslemont.' 

'Undertake to persuade her in person.' 

'I have spoken on that head.' 

'Well, I may be mistaken, — I fancied it before I 
knew of the pair she springs from : you won't get her 
consent to anything without your consenting to meet 
her. Surely it 's the manlier way. It might be settled 
for to-morrow, here, in this room. She prays to meet 
you.' 

With an indicated gesture of 'Save me from it,' Fleet- 
wood bowed. 

He left no friend thinking over the riddle of his con- 
diict. She was a loud-voiced lady, given to strike out 
phrases. The 'Whitechapel Countess' of the wealthiest 
nobleman of his day was heard by her on London's 
wagging tongue. She considered also that he ought at 
least have propitiated her; he was in the position 
requiring of him to do something of the kind, and he 



228 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had shown instead the dogged pride which calls for a 
whip. Fool as he must have been to go and commit 
himself to marriage with a girl of whom he knew nothing 
or little, the assumption of pride belonged to the order 
of impudent disguises intolerable to behold and not, in 
a modern manner, castigate. 

Notwithstanding a dislike of the Dowager Countess 
of Fleetwood, Lady Arpington paid Livia an afternoon 
visit; and added thereby to the stock of her knowledge 
and the grounds of her disapprobation. 

Down in Whitechapel, it was known to the Winch 
girls and the Woodseers that Captain Kirby and his 
wife had spent the bitterest of hours in vainly striving 
to break their immoveable sister's will to remain there. 

At the tea-time of simple people, who make it a meal, 
Gower's appetite for the home-made bread of Mary 
Jones was checked by the bearer of a short note from 
Lord Fleetwood. The half-dozen lines were cordial, 
breathing of their walk in the Austrian highlands, and 
naming a renowned city hotel for dinner that day, the 
hour seven, the reply yes or no by messenger. 

'But we are man to man, so there 's no "No" between 
us two,' the note said, reviving a scene of rosy crag and 
pine forest, where there had been philosophical fun over 
the appropriate sexes of those our most important fight- 
ing — ^ultimately, we will hope, to be united — syllables, 
and the when for men, the when for women, to select 
the one of them as their weapon. 

Under the circumstances, Gower thought such a piece 
of writing to him magnanimous. 

'It may be the solution,' his father remarked. 

Both had the desire; and Gower's reply was the yes, 
our brave male word, supposed to be not so compro- 
mising to men in the employment of it as a form of 
acquiescence rather than insistent pressure. 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 229 

CHAPTER XXIII 

IN DAME gossip's VEIN 

Right soon the London pot began to bubble. There 
was a marriage. 

There are marriages by the thousand every day of the 
year that is not consecrated to prayer for the forgiveness 
of our sins, the Old Buccaneer, writing it with simple 
intent, says, by way of preface to a series of Maxims 
for men who contemplate acceptance of the yoke. 

This was a marriage high as the firmament over 
common occurrences, black as Erebus to confound; it 
involved the wreck of expectations, disastrous eclipse 
of a sovereign luminary in the splendour of his rise, 
Phaethon's descent to the Shades through a smoking 
and a crackling world. Asserted here, verified there, 
the rumour gathered volume, and from a serpent of 
vapour resolved to sturdy concrete before it was tan- 
gible. Contradiction retired into comers, only to be 
swept out of them. For this marriage, abominable to 
hear of, was of so wonderful a sort, that the story filled 
the mind, and the discrediting of the story threatened 
the great world's cranium with a vacuity yet more 
monstrously abominable. 

For he, the planet Croesus of his time, recently, scarce 
later than last night, a glorious object of the mid-heavens 
above the market, has been enveloped, caught, gobbled 
up by one of the nameless little witches riding after dusk 
the way of the wind on broomsticks — by one of them ! 
She caught him like a fly in the hand off a pane of glass, 
gobbled him with the customary facility of a pecking 
gullet. 



230 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

But was the planet CrcEsus of his time a young man 
to be so caught, so gobbled? 

There is the mystery of it. On his coming of age, 
that young man gave sign of his having a city head. 
He put his guardians deliberately aside, had his lawyers 
and bailiffs and stewards thoroughly under control: 
managed a particularly diflScult step-mother; escaped 
the snares of her lovely cousin; and drove his team of 
sycophants exactly the road he chose to go and no other. 
He had a will. 

The world accounted him wildish? 

Always from. his own offset, to his own ends. Never 
for another's dictation or beguilement. Never for a 
woman. He was born with a suspicion of the sex. 
Poetry decorated women, he said, to lime and drag 
men in the foulest ruts of prose. 

We are to believe he has been effectively captured? 

It is positively a marriage ; he admits it. 

Where celebrated? 

There we are at hoodman-blind for the moment. 
Three counties claim the church; two ends of London. 

She is not a person of society, lineage ? 

Nor of beauty. She is a witch; ordinarily petti- 
coated and not squeaking like a shrew-mouse in her 
flights, but not a whit less a moon-shade witch. The 
kind is famous. Fairy tales and terrible romances tell 
of her; she is just as much at home in life, and springs 
usually from the mire to enthral our knightliest. Is it 
a popular hero? She has him, sooner or later. A 
planet Crcesusj? He falls to her. 

That is, if his people fail to attach him in legal bonds 
to a damsel of a corresponding birth on the day when 
he is breeched. 

Small is her need to be young — especially if it is the 
man who is very young. She is the created among women 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 231 

armed with the deadly instinct for the motive force 
in men, and shameless to attract it. Self-respecting 
women treat men as their tamed housemates. She 
blows the horn of the wild old forest, irresistible to the 
animal. the droop of the eyelids, the curve of a lip, 
the rustle of silks, the much heart, the neat ankle; and 
the sparkling agreement, the reserve — the motherly 
feminine petition that she may retain her own small 
petted babe of an opinion, legitimate or not, by per- 
mission of superior authority! — proof at once of her 
intelligence and her appreciativeness. Her infinitesimal 
.spells are seen; yet, despite experience, the magnetism 
in their repulsive display is barely apprehended by 
sedate observers until the astounding capture is pro- 
claimed. It is visible enough then : — and O men ! 
morals! If she can but trick the smallest bit in 
stooping, she has the pick of men. 

Our present sample shows her to be young: she is 
young and a foreigner. Mr. Chumley Potts vouches 
for it. Speaks foreign English. He thinks her more 
ninny than knave: she is the tool of a wily plotter, 
picked up off the highway road by Lord Fleetwood as 
soon as he had her in his eye. Sir Meeson Corby wrings 
his frilled hands to depict the horror of the hands of 
that tramp the young lord had her from. They affiict 
him malariously still. The man, he says, the man as well 
was an infatuation, because he talks like a Dictionary 
Cheap Jack, and may have had an education and dropped 
into vagrancy, owing to indiscretions. Lord Fleetwood 
ran about in Germany repeating his remarks. But the 
man is really an accomplished violinist, we hear. She 
dances the tambourine business. A sister of the man, 
perhaps, if we must be charitable. They are, some 
say, a couple of Hungarian gypsies Lord F. found at a 
show and brought over to England, and soon had it on 



232 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

his conscience that he ought to marry her, Uke the 
Quixote of honour that he is; which is equal to saying 
crazy, as there is no doubt his mother was. 

The marriage is no longer disputable; poor Lady 
Fleetwood, whatever her faults as a step-mother, does 
no longer deny the celebration of a marriage; though 
she might reasonably discredit any such story if he, on 
the evening of the date of the wedding day, was at a 
Ball, seen by her at the supper-table; though it is 
admitted he left the Ball-room at night. But the next 
day he certainly was in his place among the Peers and 
voted against the Government, and then went down 
to his estates in Wales, being an excellent holder of 
the reins, whether on the coach box or over the cash box. 

More and more wonderful, we hear that he drove his 
bride straight from the church to the field of a prize- 
fight, arranged for her special delectation. She doats 
on seeing blood-shed and drinking champagne. Young 
Mr. Mallard is our authority; and he says, she enjoyed 
it, and cheered the victor for being her husband's man. 
And after the shocking exhibition, good-bye; the 
Countess of Fleetwood was left sole occupant of a way- 
side inn, and may have learnt in her solitude that she 
would hkve been wise to feign disgust; for men to 
the smallest degree cultivated are unable to pardon a 
want of delicacy in a woman who has chosen them, 
as they are taught to think by their having chosen her. 

So talked, so twittered, piped and croaked the London 
world over the early rumours of the marriage, this 
Amazing Marriage; which it got to be called, from the 
number of items flocking to swell the wonder. 

Ravens ravening by night, poised peregrines by day, 
provision-merchants for the dispensing of dainty scraps 
to tickle the ears, to arm the tongues, to explode repu- 
tations, those great ladies, the Ladies Endor, Eldritch, 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 233 

and Cowry, fateful three of their period, avenged and 
scourged both innocence and naughtiness; innocence, 
on the whole, the least, when their withering suspicion 
of it had hunted the unhappy thing to the bank of 
Ophelia's ditch. Mallard and Chumley Potts, Captain 
Abrane, Sir Meeson Corby, Lord Brailstone, were plucked 
at and rattled, put to the blush, by a pursuit of inquiries 
conducted with beaks. High-nosed dames will surpass 
eminent judges in their temerity on the border-line 
where Ahem sounds the warning note to curtained decency. 
The courtly M. de St. Ombre had to stand confused. 
He, however, gave another version of Captain Abrane's 
'fiddler,' and precipitated the great ladies into the re- 
flection, that French gentlemen, since the execrable 
French Revolution, have lost their proper sense of the 
distinctions of Class. Homme d'esprit, applied to a 
roving adventurer, a scarce other than vagabond, was 
either an undiscriminating epithet or else a further 
example of the French deficiency in humour. 

Dexterous contriver, he undoubtedly is. Lady Cowry 
has it from Sir Meeson Corby, who had it from the poor 
dowager, that Lord Fleetwood has installed the man in 
his house and sits at the opposite end of his table; 
fished him up from Whitechapel, where the countess 
is left serving oranges at a small fruit-shop. With her 
own eyes. Lady. Arpington saw her there; and she 
can't be got to leave the place unless her husband drives 
his coach down to fetch her. That he declines to do; 
so she remains the Whitechapel Countess, all on her 
hind heels against the offer of a shilling of her husband's 
money, if she 's not to bring him to his knees ; and goes 
about at night with a low Methodist singing hymns along 
those dreadful streets, while Lord Fleetwood gives 
gorgeous entertainments. One signal from the man 
he has hired, and he stops drinking ; he will stop speaking 



234 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

as soon as the man's mouth is open. He is under a com- 
plete fascination, attributable, some say, to passes of the 
hands, which the man won't wash lest he should weaken 
their influence. 

For it cannot be simply his violin pla3dng. They 
say he was a pupil of a master of the dark art in Germany, 
and can practise on us to make us think his commonest 
utterances extraordinarily acute and precious. Lord 
Fleetwood runs round quoting him to everybody, quite 
ridiculously. But the man's influence is sufficient to 
induce his patron to drive down and fetch the White- 
chapel Countess home in state, as she insists — if the 
man wishes it. Depend upon it he is the key of the 
mystery. 

Totally the contrary. Lady Arpington declares ! — 
the man is a learned man, formerly a Professor of English 
Literature in a German University, and no connection 
of the Whitechapel Countess whatever, a chance acquaint- 
ance at the most. He operates on Lord Fleetwood with 
doses of German philosophy; otherwise, a harmless 
creature; and has consented to wash and dress. It is 
my lord who has had the chief influence. And the 
Countess Livia now backs him in maintaining that there 
is nowhere a more honest young man to be found. She 
may have her reasons. 

As for the Whitechapel Countess . . . the whole 
story of the Old Buccaneer and Countess Fanny was 
retold, and it formed a terrific halo, presage of rains 
and hurricane tempest, over the girl the young earl had 
incomprehensibly espoused to discard. Those two had 
a son and a daughter born aboard : — in wedlock, we trust. 
The girl may be as wild a one as the mother. She has 
a will as determined as her husband's. She is ofi'ered 
Esslemont, the earl's Kentish mansion, for a residence, 
and she will none of it until she has him down in the east 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 235 

of London on his knees to entreat her. The injury was 
deep on one side or the other. It may be almost surely 
prophesied that the two will never come together. Will 
either of them deal the stroke for freedom? And 
which is the likelier? 

Meanwhile Lord Fleetwood and his Whitechapel 
Countess composed the laugh of London. Straightway 
Invention, the violent propagator, sprang from his 
shades at a call of the great world's appetite for more, 
and, rushing upon stationary Fact, supplied the required. 
Marvel upon marvel was recounted. The mixed origin 
of the singular issue could not be examined, where all 
was increasingly funny. 

Always the shout for more produced it. She and 
her band of Whitechapel boys were about in ambush to 
waylay the earl wherever he went. She stood knocking 
at his door through a whole night. He dared not lug 
her before a magistrate for fear of exposure. Once, 
riding in the park with a troop of friends he had a young 
woman pointed out to him, and her finger was levelled, 
and she cried: 'There is the English nobleman who 
marries a girl and leaves her to go selling cabbages !' 

He left town for the Island, and beheld his yacht 
sailing the Solent : — ^my lady the countess was on board ! 
A pair of Tyrolese minstrels in the square kindled his 
enthusiasm at one of his dinners; he sent them a sov- 
ereign; their humble, hearty thanks were returned to 
him in the name of Die Grdfin von Fleetwood. 

The Ladies Endor, Eldritch, and Cowry sifted their 
best. They let pass incredible stories : among others, 
that she had sent cards to the nobility and gentry of 
the West End of London, offering to deliver sacks of 
potatoes by newly-established donkey-cart at the doors 
of their residences, at so much per sack, bills quarterly ; 
with the postscript, Vive I'aristocratie! Their informant 



236 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had seen a card, and the stamp of the Fleetwood dragon- 
crest was on it. 

He has enemies, was variously said of the persecuted 
nobleman. But it was nothing worse than the parasite 
that he had. This was the parasite's gentle treason. 
He found it an easy road to humour; it pricked the 
slug fancy in him to stir and curl ; gave him occasion 
to bundle and bustle his patron kindly. Abrane, Potts, 
Mallard, and Sir Meeson Corby were personages during 
the town's excitement, besought for having something 
to say. Petrels of the sea of tattle, they were buoyed 
by the hubbub they created, and felt the tipsy happiness 
of being certain to rouse the laugh wherever they alighted. 
Sir Meeson Corby, important to himself in an eminent 
degree, enjoyed the novel sense of his importance with 
his fellows. They crowded round the bore who had 
scattered them. 

He traced the miserable catastrophe in the earl's 
fortunes to the cunning of the rascal now sponging on 
Fleetwood and trying to dress like a gentleman : a con- 
victed tramp, elevated by the caprice of the young 
nobleman he was plotting to ruin. Sir Meeson quoted 
Captain Abrane's latest effort to hit the dirty object's 
name, by calling him 'Fleetwood's Mr. Woodlouse.' 
And was the rascal a sorcerer? Sir Meeson spoke of 
him in the hearing of the Countess Livia, and she, 
previously echoing his disgust, corrected him sharply, 
and said : ' I begin to be of Russett's opinion, that his 
fault is his honesty.' The rascal had won or partly 
won the empress of her sex ! This Lady Livia, haughtiest 
and most fastidious of our younger great dames, had 
become the indulgent critic of the tramp's borrowed 
plumes ! Nay, she would not listen to a depreciatory 
word on him from her cousin Henrietta Kirby-Levellier. 

Perhaps, after all, of all places for an encounter 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 237 

between the Earl of Fleetwood and the countess, those 
vulgar Gardens across the water, long since abandoned 
by the Fashion, were the most suitable. Thither one 
fair June night, for the sake of showing the dowager 
countess and her beautiful cousin, the French nobleman. 
Sir Meeson Corby, and others, what were the pleasures 
of the London lower orders, my lord had the whim to 
conduct them, — merely a parade of observation once 
round ; — the ladies veiled, the gentlemen with sticks, 
and two servants following, one of whom, dressed in 
quiet black, like the peacefuUest of parsons, was my 
lord's pugilist, Christopher Ines. 

Now, here we come to history : though you will re- 
member what History is. 

The party walked round the ,Gardens unmolested: 
nor have we grounds for supposing they assumed airs 
of state in the style of a previous generation. Only, as 
it happened, a gentleman of the party was a wag; no 
less than the famous, well-seasoned John Rose Mackrell, 
bent on amusing Mrs. Kirby-Levellier, to hear her lovely 
laughter; and his wit and his anecdotes, both inex- 
haustible, proved, as he said, 'that a dried fish is no 
stale fish, and a smoky flavour to an old chimney story 
will often render it more piquant to the taste than one 
jumping fresh off the incident.' His exact meaning in 
'smoky flavour' we are not to know; but whether that 
M. de St. Ombre should witness the effect of English 
humour upon them, or that the ladies could permit 
themselves to laugh, their voices accompanied the 
gentlemen in silvery volleys. There had been 'Mack- 
rell' at Fleetwood's dinner-table; which was then a 
way of saying that dry throats made no count of the 
quantity of champagne imbibed, owing to the fits 
Rose Mackrell caused. However, there was loud 
laughter as they strolled, and it was noticed; and 



238 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Fleetwood crying out, ' Mackrell ! Mackrell ! ' in de- 
lighted repudiation of the wag's last sally, the cry of 
'Hooray, Mackrell !' was caught up by the crowd. They 
were not the primary offenders, for loud laughter in an 
isolated party is bad breeding ; but they had not the plea 
of a copious dinner. 

So this affair began; inoffensively at the start, for 
my lord was good-humoured about it. 

Kit Ines, of the mercurial legs, must now give im- 
promptu display of his dancing. He seized a partner, 
in the manner of a Roman the Sabine, sure of pleasing 
his patron; and the maid, passing from surprise to 
merriment, entered the quadrille perforce, all giggles, 
not without emulation, for she likewise had the passion 
for the dance. Whereby it befell that the pair footed 
in a way to gather observant spectators; and if it had 
not been that the man from whom the maid was willy-nilly 
snatched, conceived resentment, things might have 
passed comfortably; for Kit's quips and cuts and high 
capers, and the Sunday gravity of the barge face while 
the legs were at their impish trickery, double motion 
to the music, won the crowd to cheer. They conjectured 
him to be a British sailor. But the destituted man said, 
sailor or no sailor, — bos'en be hanged ! he should pay 
for his whistle. 

Honourably at the close of the quadrille. Kit brought 
her back; none the worse for it, he boldly affirmed, 
and he thanked the man for the short loan of her. The 
man had an itch to strike. Choosing rather to be struck 
first, he vented nasty remarks. My lord spoke to Kit 
and moved on. At the moment of the step. Rose Mackrell 
uttered something, a waggery of some sort, heard to be 
forgotten, but of such instantaneous effect, that the 
prompt and immoderate laugh succeeding it might 
reasonably be taken for a fling of scorn at himself, by 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 239 

an injured man. They were a party; he therefore 
proceeded to make one, appealing to English sentiment 
and right feeling. The blameless and repentant maid 
plucked at his coat to keep him from dogging the heels of 
the gentlemen. Fun was promised; consequently the 
crowd waxed. 

'My lord/ had been let fall by Kit Ines. Conjoined 
to 'Mackrell,' it rang finely, and a trumpeting of 'Lord 
Mackreir resounded. Lord Mackrell was asked for 
'more capers and not so much sauce.' Various fish took 
part in his title of nobility. The wag Mackrell con- 
tinuing to be discreetly silent, and Kit Ines acting as a 
pacific rearguard, the crowd fell in love with their display 
of English humour, disposed to the surly satisfaction of 
a big street dog that has been appeased by a smaller one's 
total cessation of growls. 

All might have gone well but for the sudden appear- 
ance of two figures of young women on the scene. They 
fronted the advance of the procession. They wanted 
to have a word with Lord Mackrell. Not a bit of it 
— he won't listen, turns away; and one of the pair 
slips round him. It 's regular imploring : ' my lord ! 
my lord ! ' 

you naughty Surrey melodram villain of a Lord 
Mackrell ! Listen to the young woman, you Mackrell, 
or you 'U get Billingsgate ! Here 's Mr. Jig-and-Reel 
behind here, says she 's done him ! By Gosh ! What 's 
up now? 

One of the young ladies of the party ahead had rushed 
up to the young woman dodging to stand in Lord Mack- 
rell's way. The crowd pressed to see. Kit Ines and 
his mate shouldered them off. They performed an 
envelopment of the gentlemen and ladies, including the 
two young women. Kit left his mate and ran to the 
young woman hitherto the quieter of the two. He 



240 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

rattled at her. But she had a tongue of her own and she 
rattled it at him. What did she say? 

Merely to hear, for no other reason, a peace-loving 
crowd of clerks and tradesmen, workmen and their 
girls, young aspirants to the professions, night-larks of 
different classes, both sexes, there in that place for simple 
entertainment, animated simply by the spirit of English 
humour, contracted, so closing upon the Mackrell party 
as to seem threatening to the most orderly and appre- 
hensive member of it, who was the baronet, Sir Meeson 
Corby. 

He was a man for the constables in town emergencies, 
and he shouted. 'Cock Robin crowing' provoked a jolly 
round of barking chaff. The noise in a dense ring drew 
Fleetwood's temper. He gave the word to Kit Ines, 
and immediately two men dropped; a dozen staggered 
unhit. The fists worked right and left ; such a clearing 
of ground was never seen for sickle or scythe. And it 
was taken respectfully; for Science proclaimed her 
venerable self in the style and the perfect sufficiency of 
the strokes. A bruiser delivered them. No shame 
to back away before a bruiser. There was rather an 
admiring envy of the party claiming the nimble cham- 
pion on their side, until the very moderate lot of the 
Mackrells went stepping forward along the strewn path 
with sticks pointed. 

If they had walked it like gentlemen, they would 
have been allowed to get through. An aggressive 
minority, and with Cock Robin squealing for constables 
in the midst, is that insolent upstart thing which howls 
to have a lesson. The sticks were fallen on; bump 
came the mass. Kit Ines had to fight his way back to 
his mate, and the couple scoured a clearish ring, but 
the gentlemen were at short thrusts, affable in tone, to 
cheer the spirits of the ladies : — ' All right, my friend, 



IN DAME GOSSIP'S VEIN 241 

you 're a trifle mistaken, it 's my stick, not yours.' 
Therewith the wrestle for the stick. 

The one stick not pointed was wrenched from the 
grasp of Sir Meeson Corby ; and by a woman, the young 
woman who had accosted my lord; not a common 
young woman either, as she appeared when beseeching 
him. Her stature rose to battle heights : she made 
play with Sir Meeson Corby's ebony stick, using it in one 
hand as a dwarf quarterstaff to flail the sconces, then to 
dash the point at faces ; and she being a woman, a girl, 
perhaps a lady, her cool warrior method of cleaving way, 
without so much as tightening her lips, was found notable ; 
and to this degree (vouched for by Rose Mackrell, who 
heard it), that a fellow, rubbing his head, cried : 'Damn 
it all, she's clever, though!' She took her station 
beside Lord Fleetwood. 

He had been as cool as she, or almost. Now he was 
maddened; she defended him, she warded and thrust 
for him, only for him, to save him a touch; unasked, 
undesired, detested for the box on his ears of to-morrow's 
public mockery, as she would be, overwhelming him with 
ridicule. Have you seen the kick and tug at the straps 
of the mettled pony in stables that betrays the mis- 
handling of him by his groom ? Something so did Fleet- 
wood plunge and dart to be free of her, and his desperate 
soul cried out on her sticking to him like a plaster ! 

Welcome were the constables. His guineas winked 
at their chief, as fair women convey their meanings, 
with no motion of eyelids; and the officers of the law 
knew the voice habituated to command, and answered 
two words of his: 'Right, my lord,' smelling my lord 
in the unerring manner of those days. My lord's party 
were escorted to the gates, not a little jeered; though 
they by no means had the worst of the tussle. But 
the puffing indignation of Sir Meeson Corby over his 



242 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

battered hat and torn frill and buttons plucked from 
his coat, and his threat of the magistrates, excited the 
crowd to derisive yells. 

My lord spoke something to his man, handing his 
purse. 

The ladies were spared the hearing of bad language. 
They, according to the joint testimony of M. de St. 
Ombre and Mr. Rose Mackrell, comported themselves 
throughout as became the daughters of a warrior race. 
Both gentlemen were emphatic to praise the unknown 
Britomart who had done such gallant service with Sir 
Meeson's ebony wand. He was beginning to fuss vocif- 
erously about the loss of the stick — a family stick, gold- 
headed, the family crest on it, priceless to the family — 
when Mrs. Kirby-Levellier handed it to him inside the 
coach. 

'But where is she?' M. de St. Ombre said, and took 
the hint of Livia's touch on his arm in the dark. 

At the silence following the question, Mr. Rose Mackrell 
murmured, 'Ah!' 

He and the French gentleman understood that there 
might have been a manifestation of the notorious 
Whitechapel Countess. 

They were two ; and a slower-witted third was travel- 
ling to his ideas on the subject. Three men, witnesses 
of a remarkable incident in connection with a boiling 
topic of current scandal, — glaringly illustrative of it, 
moreover, — were unlikely to keep close tongues, even if 
they had been sworn to secresy. Fleetwood knew it, 
and he scorned to solicit them; an exaction of their 
idle vows would be merely the humiliation of himself. 
So he tossed his dignity to recklessness, as the ultra- 
convivial give the last wink of reason to the wine-cup. 
Persecuted as he was, nothing remained for him but the 
nether-sublime of a statuesque desperation. 



A KIDNAPPING AND NO GREAT HARM 243 

That was his feeling ; and his way of cloaking it under 
light sallies at Sir Meeson and easy chat with Henrietta 
made it visible to her, from its being the contrary of 
what the world might expect a proud young nobleman 
to exhibit. She pitied him : she had done him some 
wrong. She read into him, too, as none else could. 
Seeing the solitary tortures behind the pleasant social 
mask, she was drawn to partake of them ; and the mask 
seemed pathetic. She longed to speak a word in sym- 
pathy or relieve her bosom of tears. Carinthia had 
sunk herself, was unpardonable, hardly mentionable. 
Any of the tales told of her might be credited after 
this ! The incorrigible cause of humiliation for every- 
body connected with her pictured, at a word of her 
name, the crowd pressing and the London world acting 
audience. Livia spoke the name when they had reached 
their house and were alone. Henrietta responded with 
the imperceptible shrug which is more eloquent than 
a cry to tell of the most monstrous of loads. My lord, 
it was thought by the ladies, had directed his man to 
convey her safely to her chosen home, whence she might 
be expected very soon to be issuing and striking the 
gong of London agaiiL 



CHAPTER XXIV 

A KIDNAPPING AND NO GHEAT HARM 

Ladies who have the pride of delicate breeding are 
not more than rather violently hurled back on the fortress 
it is, when one or other of the gross mishaps of circum- 
stance may subject them to a shock : and this happening 
in the presence of gentlemen, they are sustained by the 
within and the without to keep a smooth countenance, 



244 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

however severe their affliction. Men of heroic nerve 
decUne similarly to let explosions shake them, though 
earth be shaken. Dragged into the monstrous grotesque 
of the scene at the Gardens, Livia and Henrietta went 
through the ordeal, masking any signs that they were 
stripped for a flagellation. Only, the fair cousins were 
unable to perceive a comic element in the scene : and if 
the world was for laughing, as their instant apprehension 
foresaw it, the world was an ignoble beast. They did not 
discuss Carinthia's latest craziness at night, hardly 
alluded to it while they were in the inter] ectory state. 

Henrietta was Livia's guest, her husband having 
hurried away to Vienna : 'To get money! money!' her 
angry bluntness explained his absence, and dealt its 
blow at the sudden astounding poverty into which they 
had fallen. She was compelled to practise an exces- 
sive, an incredible economy : — ' think of the smallest 
trifles!' so that her Chillon travelled unaccompanied, 
they were separated. Her iterations upon money were 
the vile constraint of an awakened interest and wonder- 
ment at its powers. She, the romantic Riette, banner 
of chivalry, reader of poetry, struck a line between poor 
and rich in her talk of people, and classed herself with 
the fallen and pinched ; she harped on her slender means, 
on the enforced calculations preceding purchases, on the 
living in lodgings; and that miserly Lord Levellier's 
indebtedness to Chillon — ^large sums ! and Chillon's 
praiseworthy resolve to pay the creditors of her father's 
estate ; and of how he travelled like a common man, in 
consequence of the money he had given Janey — weakly, 
for her obstinacy was past endurance; but her brother 
would not leave her penniless, and penniless she had been 
for weeks, because of her stubborn resistance to the 
earl — quite unreasonably, whether right or wrong — in the 
foul retreat she had chosen; apparently with a notion 



A KIDNAPPING AND NO GREAT HARM 245 

that the horror of it was her vantage ground against 
him : and though a single sign of submission would place 
the richest purse in England at her disposal. 'She re- 
fuses Esslemont ! She insists on his meeting her ! No 
child could be so witless. Let him be the one chiefly or 
entirely to blame, she might show a little tact — for her 
brother's sake ! She loves her brother ? No : deaf to 
him, to me, to every consideration except her blind 
will.' 

Here was the skeleton of the love match, earlier than 
Livia had expected. 

It refreshed a phlegmatic lady's disposition for proph- 
ecy. Lovers abruptly tossed between wind and 
wave may still be lovers, she knew : but they are, or 
the weaker of the two is, hard upon any third person 
who tugs at them for subsistence or existence. The 
condition, if they are much beaten about, prepares true 
lovers, through their mutual tenderness, to be bitterly 
misanthropical. 

Livia supposed the novel economic pinches to be the 
cause of Henrietta's unwonted harsh judgement of her 
sister-in-law's misconduct, or the crude expression of 
it. She could not guess that Carinthia's unhappiness 
in marriage was a spectre over the married happiness 
of the pair fretted by the conscience which told them 
they had come together by doing much to bring it to 
pass. Henrietta could see herself less the culprit when 
she blamed Carinthia in another's hearing. 

After some repose, the cousins treated their horrible 
misadventure as a piece of history. Livia was cool; 
she had not a husband involved in it, as Henrietta 
had; and London's hoarse laugh surely coming on 
them, spared her the dread Henrietta suffered, that 
Chillon would hear; the most sensitive of men on any 
^^ matter touching his family. 



246 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'And now a sister added to the list! Will there be 
names, Livia?' 

'The newspapers!' Livia's shoulders rose. 

' We ought to have sworn the gentlemen to silence.' 

'M. de St. Ombre is a tomb until he writes his Memoirs. 
I hold Sir Meeson under lock. But a spiced incident, — 
a notorious couple, — an anecdotal witness to the scene, 
— could you expect Mr. Rose Mackrell to contain it? 
The sacredest of oaths, my dear !' 

That relentless force impelling an anecdotist to 
slaughter families for the amusement of dinner-tables, 
was brought home to Henrietta by her prospect of 
being a victim; and Livia reminding her of the ex- 
cessive laughter at Rose Mackrell's anecdotes over- 
night, she bemoaned her having consented to go to those 
Gardens in mourning. 

'How could Janey possibly have heard of the project 
to go?' 

'You went to please Russett, he to please you, and 
that wild-cat to please herself,' said Livia. 'She haunts 
his door, I suppose, and follows him, like a running 
footman. Every step she takes widens the breach. 
He keeps his temper, yes, keeps his temper as he keeps 
his word, and one morning it breaks loose, and all that 's 
done has to be undone. It will be — must. That extrav- 
aganza, as she is called, is fatal, dogs him with burlesque : 
— of all men !' 

'Why not consent to meet her once, Chillon asks.' 

'You are asking Russett to yield an inch on demand, 
and to a woman.' 

'My husband would yield to a woman what he would 
refuse to all the men in Europe and America,' said Henri- 
etta; and she enjoyed her thrill of allegiance to her 
chivalrous lord and courtier. 

'No very extraordinary specimen of a newly married 



A KIDNAPPING AND NO GREAT HARM 247 

man, who has won the Beauty of England and America 
for his wife — at some cost to some people,' Livia rejoined. 

There came a moisture on the eyelashes of the emotional 
young woman, from a touch of compassion for the 
wealthy man who had wished to call her wife, and was 
condemned by her rejection of him to call another 
woman wife, to be wifeless in wedding her, despite his 
wealth. 

' She thinks he loves her ; it is pitiable, but she thinks 
it — after the treatment she has had. She begs to see 
him once.' 

'And subdue him with a fit of weeping,' Livia was 
moved to say by sight of the tear she hated. 'It would 
harden Russett — on other eyes, too ! Salt-water drops 
are like the forced agony scenes in a play : they bring 
down the curtain, they don't win the critics. I heard 
her "my husband" and saw his face.' 

'You didn't hear a whimper with it,' Henrietta said. 
'She "s a mountain girl, not your city madam on the 
boards. Chillon and I had her by each hand, implored 
her to leave that impossible Whitechapel, and she 
trembled, not a drop was shed by her. I can almost fancy 
privation and squalor have no terrors for Janey. She 
sings to the people down there, nurses them. She might 
be occupying Esslemont — our dream of an English 
home ! She is the destruction of the idea of romantic in 
connection with the name of marriage. I talk like a 
simpleton. Janey upsets us all. My lord was only a 
little queer before he knew her. His Mr. Woodseer may 
be encouraging her. You tell me the creature has a salary 
from him equal to your jointure.' 

'Be civil to the man while it lasts,' Livia said, atten- 
tive to a degradation of tone in her cousin, formerly of 
supreme self-containment. 

The beautiful young woman was reminded of her 



248 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

holiday in town. She brightened, and the little that 
it was, and the meanness of the satisfaction, darkened 
her. Envy of the lucky adventurer Mr. Woodseer, on 
her husband's behalf, grew horridly conscious for being 
reproved. So she plucked resolution to enjoy her 
holiday and forget the contrasts of life — palaces running 
profusion, lodgings hammered by duns; the pinch of 
poverty distracting every simple look inside or out. 
There was no end to it, for her husband's chivalrous 
honour forced him to undertake the payment of her 
father's heavy debts. He was right and admirable, 
it could not be contested; but the prospect for them 
was a grinding gloom, an unrelieved drag, as of a coach 
at night on an interminable uphill flinty road. 

These were her sensations, and she found it diverting 
to be admired; admired by many while she knew her- 
self to be absorbed in the possession of her by one. It 
bestowed the before and after of her marriage. She 
felt she was really, had rapidly become, the young woman 
of the world, armed with a husband, to take the flatteries 
of men for the needed diversion they brought. None 
moved her ; none could come near to touching the happy 
insensibility of a wife who adored her husband, wrote 
to him daily, thought of him by the minute. Her former 
worshippers were numerous at Livia's receptions; Lord 
Fleetwood, Lord Brailstone, and the rest. Odd to re- 
flect on — they were the insubstantial but coveted wealth 
of the woman fallen upon poverty, ignoble poverty ! 
She could not discard her wealth. She wrote amusingly 
of them, and fully, vivacious descriptions, to Chillon; 
hardly so much writing to him as entering her heart's 
barred citadel, where he resided at his ease, heard every- 
thing that befell about her. If she dwelt on Lord Fleet- 
wood's kindness in providing entertainments, her ob- 
ject was to mollify Chillon's anger in some degree. She 



A KIDNAPPING AND NO GREAT HARM 249 

was doing her utmost to gratify him, ' for the purpose of 
paving a way to plead Janey's case.' She was almost 
persuading herself she was enjoying the remarks of his 
friend, confidant, secretary, or what not, Livia's wor- 
shipper, Mr. Woodseer, 'who does as he wills with my 
lord ; directs his charities, his pleasures, his opinions, 
all because he is believed to have wonderful ideas and 
be wonderfully honest.' 

Henrietta wrote : ' Situation unchanged. Janey still 
at that place' ; and before the letter was posted, she and 
Livia had heard from Gower Woodseer of the reported 
disappearance of the Countess of Fleetwood and her 
maid. Gower's father had walked up from Whitechapel, 
bearing news of it to the earl, she said. 

' And the earl is much disturbed ? ' was Livia's inquiry. 

'He has driven down with my father,' Gower said 
carelessly, ambiguously in the sound. 

Troubled enough to desire the show of a corresponding 
trouble, Henrietta read at their faces. 

'May it not be — down there — a real danger?' 

The drama, he could inform her, was only too naked 
down there for disappearances to be common. 

' Will it be published that she is missing ? ' 

'She has her maid with her, a stout-hearted girl. 
Both have courage. I don't think we need take measures 
just yet.' 

' Not before it is public property ? ' 

Henrietta could have bitten her tongue for laying 
her open to the censure implied in his muteness. Janey 
perverted her. 

Women were an illegible manuscript, and ladies a 
closed book of the binding, to this raw philosopher, or 
he would not so coldly have judged the young wife, 
anxious on her husband's account, that they might escape 
another scorching. He carried away his impression. 



250 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Livia listened to a remark on his want of manners. 

'Russett puts it to the credit of his honesty,' she 
said. 'Honesty is everything with us at present. The 
man has made his honesty an excellent speculation. 
He puts a piece on zero and the bank hands him a sackful. 
We may think we have won him to serve us, up comes 
his honesty. That 's how we have Lady Arpington 
mixed in it — too long a tale. But be guided by me; 
condescend a little.' 

'My dear ! my whole mind is upon that unhappy girl. 
It would break Chillon's heart.' 

Livia pished. ' There are letters we read before we crack 
the seal. She is out of that ditch, and it suits Russett 
that she should be. He 's not often so patient. A 
woman foot to foot against his will — I see him throwing 
high stakes. Tyrants are brutal ; and really she provokes 
him enough. You needn't be alarmed about the treat- 
ment she '11 meet. He won't let her beat him, be sure.' 

Neither Livia nor Gower wondered at the clearing 
of the mystery, before it went to swell the scandal. 
A young nobleman of ready power, quick temper, few 
scruples, and a taxed forbearance, was not likely to 
stand thwarted and goaded — and by a woman. Lord 
Fleetwood acted his part, inscrutable as the blank of 
a locked door. He could not conceal that he was behind 
the door. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 

Gower's bedroom window looked over the shrubs of 
the square, and as his form of revolt from a city life 
was to be up and out with the sparrows in the early 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 251 

flutter of morning, for a stretch of the legs where grass 
was green and trees were not enclosed, he rarely saw a 
figure below when he stood dressing. Now there ap- 
peared a petticoated one stationary against the rails, 
with her face lifted. She fronted the house, and while 
he speculated abstractedly, recognition rushed on him. 
He was down and across the roadway at leaps. 

'It's Madge here!' 

The girl panted for her voice. 

'Mr. Woodseer, I'm glad; I thought I should have 
to wait hours. She 's safe.' 

'Where?' 

'Will you come, sir?' 

'Step ahead.' 

Madge set forth to north of the square. 

He judged of the well-favoured girl that she could 
steer her way through cities : mouth and brows were a 
warning to challenger pirate craft of a vessel carrying 
guns; and the red lips kept their firm line when they 
yielded to the pressure for speech. 

' It 's a distance. She 's quite safe, no harm ; she 's 
a prisoner; she 's well fed; she 's not ill treated.' 

'You're out?' 

'That 's as it happens. I 'm lucky in seeing you 
early. He don't mean to hurt her ; he won't be beaten. 
All she asks is ten minutes with him. If he would ! — 
he won't. She didn't mean to do him offence t' other 
night in that place — you 've heard. Kit Ines told me 
he was on duty there — going. She couldn't help speak- 
ing when she had eyes on her husband. She kisses the 
ground of his footsoles, you may say, let him be ever 
so unkind. She and I were crossing to the corner of 
Roper Street a rainy night, on way to Mile End, away 
down to one of your father's families, Mother Davis 
^and her sick daughter and the little ones, and close 



252 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

under the public-house Goat and Beard we were seized 
on and hustled into a covered carriage that was there, 
and they drove sharp. She 's not one to scream. We 
weren't frightened. We both made the same guess. 
They drove us to the house she 's locked in, and me, 
too, up till three o'clock this morning.' 

' You 've seen nobody, Madge ? ' 

' He 's fixed she 's to leave London, Mr. Woodseer. 
I 've seen Kit Ines. And she 's to have one of the big 
houses to her use. I guessed Kit Ines was his broom. 
He defends it because he has his money to make — 
and be a dirty broom for a fortune ! But any woman 's 
sure of decent handling with Kit Ines — not to speak of 
lady. He and a mate guard the house. An old woman 
cooks.' 

' He guards the house, and he gave you a pass ? ' 

'Not he. His pride 's his obedience to his "paytron" 
— he calls his master, and won't hear that name abused. 
We are on the first floor; all the lower doors are locked 
day and night. New Street, not much neighbours; she 
wouldn't cry out of the window. She 's to be let free 
if she '11 leave London.' 

'You jumped it !' 

'If I 'd broke a leg, Mr. Kit Ines would have had to 
go to his drams. It wasn't very high ; and a flower-bed 
underneath. My mistress wanted to be the one. She 
has to be careful. She taught me how to jump down 
not to hurt. She makes you feel you can do anything. 
I had a bother to get her to let me and be quiet herself. 
She 's not one to put it upon others, you '11 learn. When 
I was down I felt like a stick in the ground and sat till 
I had my feet, she at the window waiting ; and I started 
for you. She kissed her hand. I was to come to you, 
and then your father, you nowhere seen. I wasn't 
spoken to. I know empty London.' 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 253 

' Kit Ines was left sleeping in the house ? ' 

'Snoring, I dare say. He don't drink on duty.' 

'He must be kept on duty.' 

' Drink or that kind of duty, it 's a poor choice.' 

' You '11 take him in charge, Madge.' 

' I 've got a mistress to look after.' 

' You 've warmed to her.' 

'That 's not new, Mr. Woodseer. I do trust you, 
and you his friend. But you are the minister's son, 
and any man not a great nobleman must have some 
heart for her. You '11 learn. He kills her so because 
she 's fond of him — ^loves him, however he strikes. No, 
not like a dog, as men say of us. She 'd die for him 
this night, need were. Live with her, you won 't find 
many men match her for brave ; and she 's good. My 
Sally calls her a Bible saint. I could tell you stories 
of her goodness, short the time though she 's been down 
our way. And better there for her than at that inn he 
left her at to pine and watch the Royal Sovereign come 
swing come smirk in sailor blue and star to meet the rain 
— would make anybody disrespect Royalty or else go 
mad ! He 's a great nobleman, he can't buy what she's 
ready to give; and if he thinks he breaks her will now, 
it 's because she thinks she 's obeying a higher than him, 
or no lord alive and Kit Ines to back him 'd hold her. 
Women want a priest to speak to men certain times. I 
wish I dared ; we have to bite our tongues. He 's master 
now, but, as I believe God 's above, if he plays her false, 
he 's the one to be brought to shame. I talk.' 

'Talk on, Madge,' said Gower, to whom the girl's 
short-syllabled rim of the lips was a mountain rill com- 
pared with London park waters. 

' You won't let him hurry her off where she '11 eat her 
heart for never seeing him again? She prays to be near 
him, if she 's not to see him.' 



254 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'She speaks in that way?' 

' I get it by bits. I 'm with her so, it 's as good as if 
I was inside her. She can't obey when it goes the wrong 
way of her heart to him.' 

'Love and wisdom won't pull together, and they part 
company for good at the church door,' said Gower. 
'This matrimony 's a bad business.' 

Madge hummed a moan of assent^ 'And my poor 
Sally '11 have to marry. I can't leave my mistress while 
she wants me, and Sally can't be alone. It seems we 
take a step and harm 's done, though it 's the right step 
we take.' 

' It seems to me you 've engaged yourself to follow 
Sally's lead, Madge.' 

'Girls' minds turn comers, Mr. Woodseer.' 

He passed the remark. What it was that girls' minds 
occasionally or habitually did, or whether they had 
minds to turn, or whether they took their whims for 
minds, were untroubled questions with a young man 
studying abstract and adoring surface nature too ex- 
clusively to be aware of the manifestation of her spirit 
in the flesh, as it is not revealed so much by men. How- 
ever, she had a voice and a face that led him to be thought- 
ful over her devotedness to her mistress, after nearly 
losing her character for the prize-fighter, and he had to 
thank her for invigorating him. His disposition was 
to muse and fall slack, helpless to a friend. Here walked 
a creature exactly the contrary. He listened to the 
steps of the dissimilar pair on the detonating pavement, 
and eyed a church clock shining to the sun. 

She was sure of the direction : ' Out Camden way, 
where the murder was.' 

They walked at a brisk pace, conversing or not. 

'Tired? You must be,' he said. 

' Not when I 'm hot to do a thing.' 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 255 

'There 's the word of the thoroughbred !' 

'You don't tire, sir,' said she. 'Sally and I see you 
stalking out for the open country in the still of the 
morning. She thinks you look pale for want of food, 
and ought to have some one put a biscuit into your 
pocket overnight.' 

' Who 'd have guessed I was under motherly obser- 
vation!' 

'You shouldn't go so long empty, if you listen to 
trainers.' 

'Capital doctors, no doubt. But I get a fine appetite.' 

'You may grind the edge too sharp.' 

He was about to be astonished, and reflected that 
she had grounds for her sagacity. His next thought 
plunged him into contempt for Kit Ines, on account of 
the fellow's lapses to sottishness. But there would be 
no contempt of Kit Ines in a tussle with him. Nor 
could one funk the tussle and play cur, if Kit's engaged 
young woman were looking on. We get to our courage 
or the show of it by queer screws. 

Contemplative over these matters, the philosopher 
transformed to man of action heard Madge say she 
read directions in London by churches, and presently 
exclaiming disdainfully, and yet relieved, 'Spooner 
Villas,' she turned down a row of small detached houses 
facing a brickfield, that had just contributed to the 
erection of them, and threatened the big city with 
further defacements. 

Madge pointed to the marks of her jump, deep in 
flower-bed earth under an open window. 

Gower measured the height with sensational shanks. 

She smote at the door. Carinthia nodded from her 
window. Close upon that. Kit Ines came bounding to 
the parlour window; he spied and stared. Gower 
was known to him as the earl's paymaster; so he went 



256 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

to the passage and flung the door open, blocking the 
way. 

'Any commands, your honour?' 

'You bring the countess to my lord immediately,' 
said Gower. 

Kit swallowed his mouthful of surprise in a second 
look at Madge and the ploughed garden-bed beneath 
the chamber window. 

' Are the orders written, sir ? ' 

'To me? — ^for me to deliver to you? — for you to 
do my lord's bidding? Where 's your head?' 

Kit's finger-nails travelled up to it. Madge pushed 
past him. 

She and her mistress, and Kit's mate, and the old 
woman receiving the word for a cup of tea, were soon 
in the passage. Kit's mate had a ready obedience for 
his pay, nothing else, — no counsel at all, not a sugges- 
tion to a head knocked to a pudding by Madge's jump 
and my lord's paymaster here upon the scene. 

'My lady was to go down Wales way, sir.' 

'That may be ordered after.' 

'I'm to take my lady to my lord ? ' and, ' Does it 
mean my lady wants a fly?' Kit asked, ^ and harked 
back on whether Madge had seen my lord. 

'At five in the morning? — don't sham donkey with 
me,' said Gower. 

The business looked inclined to be leaky, but which 
the way for proving himself other than a donkey puzzled 
Kit : so much so, that a shove made him partly grateful. 
Madge's clever countermove had stunned his judgement. 
He was besides acting subordinate to his patron's pay- 
master ; and by the luck of it, no voice of woman inter- 
posed. The countess and her maid stood by like a dis- 
interested couple. Why be suspicious, if he was to keep 
the countess in sight? She was a nice lady, and he 




■_i^^ 



■^oa> 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 257 

preferred her good opinion. She was brave, and he did 
her homage. It might be, my lord had got himself round 
to the idea of thanking her for saving his nob that night, 
and his way was to send and have her up, to tell her he 
forgave her, after the style of lords. Gower pricked into 
him by saying aside : ' Mad, I suppose, in case of a 
noise?' And he could not answer quite manfully, lost 
his eyes and coloured. Neighbours might have re- 
quired an explanation of shrieks, he confessed. Men 
have sometimes to do nasty work for their patrons. 

They were afoot, walking at Carinthia's pace before 
half-past seven. She would not hear of any convey- 
ance. She was cheerful, and, as it was pitiful to see, 
enjoyed her walk. Hearing of her brother's departure 
for the Austrian capital, she sparkled. Her snatches 
of speech were short flights out of the meditation pos- 
sessing her. Gower noticed her easier English, that 
came home to the perpetual student he was. She made 
use of some of his father's words, and had assimilated 
them mentally besides appropriating them : the ver- 
balizing of 'purpose,' then peculiar to his father, for 
example. She said, in reply to a hint from him : ' If 
my lord will allow me an interview, I purpose to be 
obedient.' No one could imagine of her that she spoke 
broken-spiritedly. Her obedience was to a higher than 
a mortal lord : and Gower was touched to the quick 
through the use of the word. 

Contrasting her with Countess Livia and her cousin, 
the earl might think her inferior on the one small, square 
compartment called by them the world ; but she carried 
the promise of growth, a character in expansion, and 
she had at least natural grace, a deerlike step. Al- 
though her picturesqueness did not swarm on him with 
images illuminating night, subduing day, like the Countess 
Livia's, it was marked, it could tower and intermittently 



258 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

eclipse; and it was of the uplifting and healing kind by 
comparison, not a delicious balefulness. 

The bigger houses, larger shops, austere streets of 
private residences, were observed by the recent inhabi- 
tant of Whitechapel. 

' My lord lives in a square,' she said. 

'We shall soon be there now,' he encouraged her, 
doubtful though the issue appeared. 

'It is a summer morning for the Ortler, the Gross- 
Glockner, the Venediger, — all our Alps, Mr. Woodseer.' 

'If we could %!' 

'We love them.' 

' Why, then we beat a wing — yes.' 

'For I have them when I want them to sight. It 
is the feet are so desirous. I feel them so this morning, 
after prisonership. I could not have been driven to 
my lord.' 

'I know the feeling,' said Gower; 'any movement 
of us not our own impulse, hurries the body and deadens 
the mind. And by the way, my dear lady, I spoke of 
the earl's commands to this man behind us walking 
with your Madge. My father would accuse me of 
Jesuitry. Ines mentioned commands, and I took ad- 
vantage of it.' 

'I feared,' said Carinthia. 'I go for my chance.' 

Gower had a thought of the smaller creature, greater 
by position, to whom she was going for her chance. He 
alluded to his experience of the earl's kindness in relation 
to himself, from a belief in his ' honesty ' ; dotted outlines 
of her husband's complex character, or unmixed and 
violently opposing elements. 

She remarked : ' I will try and learn.' 

The name of the street of beautiful shops woke a 
happy smile on her mouth. 'Father talked of it; my 
mother, too. He has it written down in his Book of 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 259 

Maxims. When I was a girl, I dreamed of one day 
walking up Bond Street.' 

They stepped from the pavement and crossed the 
roadway for a side-street leading to the square. With 
the swift variation of her aspect at times, her tone 
changed. 

'We are near. My lord will not be troubled by me. 
He has only to meet me. There has been misunderstand- 
ing. I have vexed him; I could not help it. I will 
go where he pleases after I have heard him give orders. 
He thinks me a frightful woman. I am peaceful.' 

Gower muttered her word 'misunderstanding.' They 
were at the earl's house door. One tap at it, and the 
two applicants for admission would probably be shot 
as far away from Lord Fleetwood as when they were 
on the Styrian heights last autumn. He delivered the 
tap, amused by the idea. It was like a summons to 
a genie of doubtful service. 

My lord was out riding in the park. 

Only the footman appeared at that early hour, and 
his countenance was blank whitewash as he stood 
rigid against the wall for the lady to pass. Madge 
followed into the morning room; Ines remained in the 
hall, where he could have the opening speech with his 
patron, and where he soon had communication with 
the butler. 

This official entered presently to Gower, presenting 
a loaded forehead. A note addressed to Mrs. Kirby- 
Levellier at the Countess Livia's house hard by was 
handed to him for instant despatch. He signified a 
deferential wish to speak. 

'You can speak in the presence of the Countess of 
Fleetwood, Mr. Waytes,' Gower said. 

Waytes checked a bend of his shoulders. He had 
npt a word, and he turned to send the note. He was 



260 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

compelled to think that he saw a well-grown young 
woman in the Whitechapel Countess. 

Gower's note reached Henrietta on her descent to the 
breakfast-table. She was alone, and thrown into a 
torture of perplexity: for she wanted advice as to the 
advice to be given to Janey, and Livia was an utterly 
unprofitable person to consult in the case. She thought 
of Lady Arpington, not many doors distant. Drinking 
one hasty cup of tea, she sent for her bonnet, and hastened 
away to the great lady, whom she found rising from 
breakfast with the marquis. 

Lady Arpington read Gower's note. She unbur- 
dened herself : ' Oh ! So it 's no longer a bachelor's 
household !' 

Henrietta heaved the biggest of sighs. 'I fear the 
poor dear may have made matters worse.' 

To which Lady Arpington said : ' Worse or better, 
my child!' and shrugged; for the present situation 
strained to snapping. 

She proposed to go forthwith, and give what support 
she could to the Countess of Fleetwood. 

They descended the steps of the house to the garden 
and the Green Park's gravel walk up to Piccadilly. There 
they had view of Lord Fleetwood on horseback leisurely 
turning out of the main way's tide. They saw him 
alight at the mews. As they entered the square, he was 
met some doors from the south corner by his good or evil 
genius, whose influence with him came next after the 
marriage in the amazement it caused, and was perhaps 
to be explained by it ; for the wealthiest of yoimg noble- 
men bestowing his name on an unknown girl, would be 
the one to make an absurd adventurer his intimate. 
Lord Fleetwood bent a listening head while Mr. Gower 
Woodseer, apparently a good genius for the moment, 
spoke at his ear. 



THE PHILOSOPHER MAN OF ACTION 261 

How do we understand laughter at such a communi- 
cation as he must be hearing from the man? Signs of 
a sharp laugh indicated either his cruel levity or that 
his presumptuous favourite trifled — and the man's talk 
could be droll, Lady Arpington knew : it had, she rec- 
ollected angrily, diverted her, and softened her to 
tolerate the intruder into regions from which her class 
and her periods excluded the lowly born, except at the 
dinner-tables of stale politics and tattered scandal. 
Nevertheless, Lord Fleetwood mounted the steps to his 
house door, still listening. His 'Asmodeus,' on the 
tongue of the world, might be doing the part of Mentor 
really. The house door stood open. 

Fleetwood said something to Gower ; he swung round, 
beheld the ladies and advanced to them, saluting. 'My 
dear Lady Arpington ! quite so, you arrive oppor- 
tunely. When the enemy occupies the citadel, it 's 
proper to surrender. Say, I beg, she can have the house, 
if she prefers it. I will fall back on Esslemont. Arrange- 
ments for her convenience will be made. I thank you, 
by anticipation.' 

His bow included Henrietta loosely. Lady Arpington 
had exclaimed: 'Enemy, Fleetwood?' and Gower, 
in his ignorance of the smoothness of aristocratic manners, 
expected a remonstrance; but Fleetwood was allowed 
to go on, with his air of steely geniality and a decision, 
that his friend imagined he could have broken down like 
an old partition board under the kick of a sarcasm 
sharpening an appeal. 

'Lord Fleetwood was on the point of going in,' he 
assured the great lady. 

'Lord Fleetwood may regret his change of mind,' 
said she. 'The Countess of Fleetwood will have my 
advice to keep her footing in this house.' 
,She and Henrietta sat alone with Carinthia for an 



262 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

hour. Coming forth, Lady Arpington ejaculated to 
herself : ' Villany somewhere ! — You will do well, 
Henrietta, to take up your quarters with her a day 
or two. She can hold her position a month. Longer 
is past possibility.' 

A shudder of the repulsion from men crept over the 
younger lady. But she was a warrior's daughter, and 
observed : ' My husband, her brother, will be back 
before the month ends.' 

'No need for hostilities to lighten our darkness,' 
Lady Arpington rejoined. 'You know her? trust her?' 

'One cannot doubt her face. She is my husband's 
sister. Yes, I do trust her. I nail my flag to her cause.' 

The flag was crimson, as it appeared on her cheeks ; 
and that intimated a further tale, though not of so 
dramatic an import as the cognizant short survey of 
Carinthia had been. 

These young women, with the new complications 
obtruded by them, irritated a benevolent great govern- 
ing lady, who had married off her daughters and em- 
braced her grandchildren, comfortably finishing that 
chapter; and beheld now the apparition of the sex's 
ancient tripping foe, when circumstances in themselves 
were quite" enough to contend against on their behalf. 
It seemed to say, that nature's most burdened weaker 
must always be beaten. Despite Henrietta's advocacy 
and Carinthia's clear face, it raised a spectral form of 
a suspicion, the more effective by reason of the much 
required justification it fetched from the shades to plead 
apologies for Lord Fleetwood's erratic, if not mad, and 
in any case ugly, conduct. What otherwise could be 
his excuse? Such was his need of one, that the wife 
he crushed had to be proposed for sacrifice, in the mind 
of a lady tending strongly to side with her and condemn 
her husband. 



THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 263 

Lady Arpington had counselled Carinthia to stay 
where she was, the Fates having brought her there. 
Henrietta was too generous to hesitate in her choice 
between her husband's sister and the earl. She re- 
moved from Livia's house to Lord Fleetwood's. My 
lord was at Esslemont two days; then established his 
quarters at Scrope's hotel, five minutes' walk from the 
wedded lady to whom the right to bear his title was 
granted, an interview with him refused. Such a squaring 
for the battle of spouses had never — or not in mighty 
London — been seen since that old fight began. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

AFTER SOME FENCING THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 

Dame Gossip at this present pass bursts to give us 
a review of the social world siding for the earl or for 
his countess; and her parrot cry of 'John Rose Mack- 
rell ! ' with her head's loose shake over the smack of her 
lap, to convey the contemporaneous tipsy relish of the 
rich good things he said on the subject of the contest, 
indicates the kind of intervention it would be. 

To save the story from having its vein tied, we may 
accept the reminder, that he was the countess's voluble 
advocate at a period when her friends were shy to 
speak of her. After relating the Vauxhall Gardens 
episode in burlesque Homeric during the freshness of 
the scandal. Rose Mackrell's enthusiasm for the heroine 
of his humour set in. He tracked her to her parentage, 
which was new breath blown into the sunken tradition 
of some Old Buccaneer and his Countess Fanny : and, 
3, turn of great good luck helping him to a copy of 



264 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the book of the Maxims for Men, he would quote certain 
of the racier ones, passages of Captain John Peter Kirby's 
personal adventures in various lands and waters illus- 
trating the text, to prove that the old warrior acted by 
the rule of his recommendations. They had the re- 
pulsive attraction proper to rusty lumber swords and 
truncehons that have tasted brains. They wove no 
mild sort of halo for the head of a shillelagh-flourishing 
Whitechapel Countess descended from the writer and 
doer. 

People were willing to believe in her jump of thirty 
feet or more off a suburban house-top to escape durance, 
and her midnight storming of her lord's town house, 
and ousting of him to go find his quarters at Scrope's 
hotel. He, too, had his band of pugilists, as it was 
known ; and he might have heightened a rageing scandal. 
The nobleman forbore. A woman's blow gracefully 
taken adds a score of inches to our stature, floor us 
as it may : we win the world's after-thoughts. Rose 
Mackrell sketched the earl; — always alert, smart, quick 
to meet a combination and protect a dignity never 
obtruded, and in spite of himself the laugh of the town. 
His humour flickered wildly round the ridiculous position 
of a prominent young nobleman, whose bearing and 
character were foreign to a position of ridicule. ' 

Nevertheless, the earl's figure continuing to be classic 
sculpture, it allied him with the aristocracy of martyrs, 
that burn and do not wince. He propitiated none, 
and as he could not but suffer shrewdly, he gained esteem 
enough to shine through the woman's pitiless drenching 
of him. During his term at Scrope's hotel, the carousals 
there were quite old-century and matter of discourse. 
He had proved his return to sound sense in the dismissal 
of 'the fiddler,' notoriously the woman's lieutenant, or 
more ; and nightly the revelry closed at the great gaming- 



THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 265 

tables of St. James's Street, while Whitechapel held the 
coroneted square, well on her way to the Law courts, as 
Abrane and Potts reported; and positively so, 'clear 
case.' That was the coming development and finale of 
the Marriage. London waited for it. 

A rich man's easy smile over losses at play, merely 
taught his emulous troop to feel themselves poor devils 
in the pocket. But Fleetwood's contempt of Sleep 
was a marvel, superhuman, and accused them of an 
inferior vigour, hard for young men to admit by the 
example. He never went to bed. Issuing from For- 
tune's hall-doors in the bright, lively, summer morning, 
he mounted horse and was away to the hills. Or he took 
the arm of a Roman Catholic nobleman. Lord Feltre, 
and walked with him from the green tables and the 
establishment's renowned dry still Sillery to a Papist 
chapel. As it was not known that he had given 
his word to abjure his religion, the pious gamblers 
did no worse than spread an alarm and quiet it, by 
the citation of his character for having a try at every- 
thing. 

Henrietta despatched at this period the following 
letter to Chillon : — 

'I am with Livia to-morrow. Janey starts for Wales 
to-morrow morning, a voluntary exile. She pleaded to 
go back to that place where you had to leave her, prom- 
ising she would not come Westward; but was per- 
suaded. Lady Arpington approves. The situation was 
getting too terribly strained. We met and passed my 
lord in the park. 

'He was walking his horse — elegant cavalier that he 
is : would not look on his wife. A woman pulled by 
her collar should be passive; if she pulls her way, she 
\§ treated as a dog. I see nothing else in the intention 



266 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of poor Janey's last offence to him. There is an opposite 
counsel, and he can be eloquent, and he will be heard 
on her side. How could she manage the most wayward 
when she has not an idea of ordinary men ! But, my 
husband, they have our tie between them ; it may move 
him. It subdues her — and nothing else would have done 
that. If she had been in England a year before the 
marriage, she would, I think, have understood better how 
to guide her steps and her tongue for his good pleasure. 
She learns daily, very quickly : observes, assimilates ; 
she reads and has her comments — would have shot far 
ahead of your Riette, with my advantages. 

'Your uncle — but he will bear any charge on his 
conscience as long as he can get the burden off his 
shoulders. Do not fret, my own ! Reperuse the above 
— you will see we have grounds for hope. 

'He should have looked down on her! No tears 
from her eyes, but her eyes were tears. She does not 
rank among beautiful women. She has her moments 
for outshining them — the loveliest of spectres ! She 
caught at my heart. I cannot forget her face looking 
up for him to look down. A great painter would have 
reproduced it, a great poet have rendered the impres- 
sion. Nothing short of the greatest. That is odd to 
say of one so simple as she. But when accidents call 
up her reserves, you see mountain heights where mists 
were — she is actually glorified. Her friend — I do believe 
a friend — the Mr. Woodseer you are to remember meet- 
ing somewhere — a sprained ankle — ^has a dozen similes 
ready for what she is when pain or happiness vivify her. 
Or, it may be, tender charity. She says, that if she 
feels for suffering people, it is because she is the child 
of Chillon's mother. In like manner Chillon is the son 
of Janey's father. 

'Mr. Woodseer came every other evening. Our only 



THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 267 

enlivenment. Livia followed her policy, in refusing to 
call. We lived luxuriously; no money, not enough for 
a box at the opera, though we yearned — you can imagine. 
Chapters of philosophy read out and expounded instead. 
Janey likes them. He sets lessons to her queer maid — 
reading, writing, pronunciation of English. An inferior 
language to Welsh, for poetical purposes, we are in- 
formed. So Janey determining to apply herself to 
Welsh, and a chameleon Riette dreading that she will 
be taking a contrary view of the honest souls — as she 
feels them to be — when again under Livia's shadow. 

'The message from Janey to Scrope's hotel was de- 
spatched half-an-hour after we had driven in from the 
park; fruit of a brown meditation. I wrote it — third 
person — a single sentence. Arrangements are made for 
her to travel comfortably. It is funny — the shops for 
her purchases of clothes, necessaries, etc., are specified; 
she may order to any extent. Not a shilling of money 
for her poor purse. What can be the secret of that? 
He does nothing without an object. To me, imiformly 
civil, no irony, few compliments. Livia writes, that 
I am commended for keeping Janey company. What 
can be the secret of a man scrupulously just with one 
hand, and at the same time cruel with the other? Mr. 
Woodseer says, his wealth: — "More money than is re- 
quired for their needs, men go into harness to Plutus," 
— if that is clever. 

'I have written my husband — as Janey ceases to 
call her own; and it was pretty and touching to hear 
her "my husband." — Oh! a dull letter. But he is my 
husband though he keeps absent — to be longed for — 
he is my husband still, my husband always. Chillon 
is Henrietta's husband, the world cries out, and when 
she is flattered she does the like, for then it is not too 
.presumptuous that she should name Henrietta Chillon's 



268 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

wife. In my ears, husband has the sweeter sound. It 
brings an angel from overhead. Will it bring him one- 
half hour sooner? My love! My dear! If it did, I 
should be lisping "husband, husband, husband" from 
cock-crow to owl's cry. Livia thinks the word foolish, 
if not detestable. She and I have our different opinions. 
She is for luxury. I choose poverty and my husband. 
Poverty has its beauty, if my husband is the sun of it. 
Elle radote. She would not have written so dull a letter 
to her husband if she had been at the opera last night, or 
listened to a distant street-band. No more — the next 
line would be bleeding. He should have her blood too, 
if that were her husband's^t would never be ; but if it 
were for his good in the smallest way. Chillon's wish is 
to give his blood for them he loves. Never did woman 
try more to write worthily to her absent lord and fall 
so miserably into the state of dripping babe from bath 
on nurse's knee. Cover me, my lord and love, my 
cause for — no, my excuse, my refuge from myself. We 
are one ? Oh ! we are one !— and we have been separated 
eight and twenty days. 

'Henrietta Kirby-Levelliee.' 

That was a letter for the husband and lover to receive 
in a foreign land and be warmed. 

The tidings of Carinthia washed him clean of the 
grimy district where his waxen sister had developed 
her stubborn insensibility; — resembling craziness, every 
perversion of the refinement demanded by young English- 
men of their ladies ; and it pacified him with the belief 
that she was now at rest, the disturbed history of their 
father and mother at rest as well; his conscience in 
relation to the marriage likewise at rest. Chillon had 
a wife. Her writing of the welcome to poverty stirred 
his knowledge of his wife's nature. Carinthia might 



THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 269 

bear it and harden to flint; Henrietta was a butterfly 
for the golden rays. His thoughts, all his energies, were 
bent on the making of money to supply her need for the 
pleasure she flew in — a butterfly's grub without it. 
Accurately so did the husband and lover read his wife — 
adoring her the more. 

Her letter's embracing close was costly to them. It 
hurried him to the compromise of a debateable business, 
and he fell into the Austrian Government's terms for 
the payment of the inheritance from his father; calcu- 
lating that — ^his sister's share deducted — money would 
be in hand to pay pressing debts and enable Henrietta 
to live unworried by cares until he should have squeezed 
debts, long due and increasing, out of the miserly old 
lord, his uncle. A prospect of supplies for twelve months, 
counting the hack and carriage Henrietta had always 
been used to, seemed about as far as it was required to 
look by the husband hastening homeward to his wife's 
call. Her letter was a call in the night. Besides, there 
were his yet untried Inventions. The new gunpowder 
testing at Croridge promised to provide Henrietta with 
many of the luxuries she could have had, and had aban- 
doned for his sake. The new blasting powder and a de- 
structive shell might bmld her the palace she deserved. 
His uncle was, no doubt, his partner. If, however, the 
profits were divided, sufl&cient wealth was assured. But 
his imcle remained a dubious image. The husband and 
lover could enfold no positive prospect to suit his wife's 
tastes beyond the twelve months. 

We have Dame Gossip upon us. 

— One minute let mention be of the excitement over 

Protestant England when that rumour disseminated, 

telling of her wealthiest nobleman's visit to a monastery, 

up in the peaks and snows; and of his dwelling among 

,the monks, and assisting in all their services day and 



270 - THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

night, hymning and chanting, uttering not one word for 
one whole week : his Papistical friend, Lord Feltre, with 
him, of course, after Jesuit arts had allured him to that 
place of torrents and lightnings and canticles and demon 
echoes, all as though expressly contrived for the horrify- 
ing of sinners into penitence and confession and the 
monkish cowl up to life's end, not to speak of the abju- 
ration of worldly possessions and donation of them into 
the keeping of the shaven brothers; when either they 
would have settled a band of them here in our very 
midst, or they would have impoverished — is not too 
strong a word — the country by taking the money's 
worth of the mines, estates, mansions, freehold streets 
and squares of our metropolis out of it without scruple; 
rejoicing so to bleed the Protestant faith. Underrate 
it now — ^then it was a truly justifiable anxiety: in- 
somuch that you heard people of station, eminent titled 
persons, asking, like the commonest low Radicals, 
whether it was prudent legislation to permit of the 
inheritance of such vast wealth by a young man, little 
more than a boy, and noted for freaks. And some de- 
clared it could not be allowed for foreign monks to have 
a claim to inherit English property. There was a general 
consent, that if the Earl of Fleetwood went to the ex- 
treme of making over his property to those monks, he 
should be pronounced insane and incapable. Ultimately 
the world was a little pacified by hearing that a portion 
of it was entaUed, Esslemont and the Welsh mines. 

So it might be ; but what if he had no child ! The 
marriage amazing everybody scarcely promised fruit, it 
was thought. Countess Livia, much besought for her 
opinion, scouted the possibility. And Carinthia Jane 
was proclaimed by John Rose Mackrell (to his dying 
day the poor gentleman tried vainly to get the second 
syllable of his name accentuated) a young woman who 



THE DAME PASSES OUR GUARD 271 

would outlive twice over the husband she had. He 
said of his name, it was destined to pass him down a 
dead fish in the nose of posterity, and would affect his 
best jokes; which something- has done, or the present 
generation has lost the sense of genuine humour. 

Thanks to him, the talk of the Whitechapel Countess 
again sprang up, merrily as ever; and after her having 
become, as he said, 'a desiccated celebrity,' she outdid 
cabinet ministers and naughty wives for a living morsel 
in the world's mouth. She was denounced by the 
patriotic party as the cause of the earl's dalliance with 
Rome. 

The earl, you are to know, was then coasting along 
the Mediterranean, on board his beautiful schooner 
yacht, with his Lord Feltre, bound to make an inspec- 
tion of Syrian monasteries, and forget, if he could, the 
face of all faces, another's possession by the law. 

Those two lords, shut up together in a yacht, were 
advised by their situation to be bosom friends, and 
they quarrelled violently, and were reconciled, and they 
quarrelled again; they were explosive chemicals; until 
the touch of dry land relieved them of what they really 
fancied the spell of the Fiend. For their argumentative 
topic during confinement was Woman, when it was not 
Theology; and even off a yacht, those are subjects to 
kindle the utmost hatred of dissension, if men are not 
perfectly concordant. They agreed upon land to banish 
any talk of Women or Theology, where it would have 
been comparatively innocent; so they both desiring 
to be doing the thing they had sworn they would not do, 
the thoughts of both were fastened on one or the other 
interdicted subject. They hardly spoke ; they perceived 
in their longing minds, that the imagined spell of the 
Fiend was indeed the bile of the sea, secreted thickly 
for want of exercise, and they both regretted the days 



272 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

and nights of their angry controversies; unfit pilgrims 
of the Holy Land, they owned. 

To such effect, Lord Fleetwood wrote to Gower Wood- 
seer, as though there had been no breach between them, 
from Jerusalem, expressing the wish to hear his cool 
wood-notes of the philosophy of Life, fresh drawn from 
Nature's breast; and urgent for an answer, to be ad- 
dressed to his hotel at Southampton, that he might be 
greeted on his return home first by his 'friend Gower.' 

He wrote in the month of January. His arrival at 
Southampton was on the thirteenth day of March ; and 
there he opened a letter some weeks old, the bearer of 
news which ought by rights to make husbands proudly 
happy. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

WE DESCEND INTO A STEAMER's ENGINE-ROOM 

Fleetwood had dropped his friend Lord Feltre at 
Ancona; his good fortune was to be alone when the 
clang of bells rang through his head in the reading of 
Gower's lines. Other letters were opened : from the 
Countess Livia, from Lady Arpington, from Captain 
Kirby-Levellier. There was one from his lawyers, in- 
forming him of their receipt of a communication dated 
South Wales, December 11th, and signed Owain Wythan; 
to the effect, that the birth of a son to the Earl of Fleet- 
wood was registered on the day of the date, with a copy 
of the document forwarded. 

Livia scornfully stated the tattling world's 'latest.' 
The captain was as brief, in ordinary words, whose 
quick run to the stop could be taken for a challenge 
of the eye. It stamped the adversary's frown on 



INTO A STEAMER'S ENGINE-ROOM 273 

Fleetwood reading. Lady Arpington was more politic ; 
she wrote of 'a healthy boy/ and 'the healthy mother 
giving him breast,' this being 'the way for the rearing 
of strong men.' She condescended to the particulars, 
that she might touch him. 

The earl had not been so reared : his mother was 
not the healthy mother. One of his multitudinous, 
shifty, but ineradicable ambitions was to exhibit an 
excellingly vigorous, tireless constitution. He remem- 
bered the needed refreshment of the sea-breezes aboard 
his yacht during the week following the sleep-discarded 
nights at Scrope's and the green tables. For a week 
he hung to the smell of brine, in rapturous amity with 
Feltre, until they yellowed, differed, wrangled, hated. 

A powerful leaven was put into him by the tidings 
out of Wales. Gower, good fellow, had gone down to 
see the young mother three weeks after the birth of 
her child. She was already renewing her bloom. She 
had produced the boy in the world's early manner, 
lightly, without any of the tragic modern hovering 
over death to give the life. Gower compared it to a 
'flush of the vernal orchard after a day's drink of sun- 
light.' That was well : that was how it should be. 
One loathes the idea of tortured women. 

The good fellow was perhaps absurdly poetical. Still 
we must have poetry to hallow this and other forms of 
energy: or say, if you like, the right view of them im- 
pels to poetry. Otherwise we are in the breeding yards, 
among the litters and the farrows. It is a question of 
looking down or looking up. If we are poor creatures 
— as we are if we do but feast and gamble and beget 
— we shall run for a time with the dogs and come to the 
finish of swine. Better say, life is holy! Why, then 
have we to thank her who teaches it. 

He gazed at the string of visions of the woman naming 



274 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

him husband, making him a father: the imagined 
Garinthia — beautiful Gorgon, haggard Venus ; the Carin- 
thia of the precipice tree-shoot; Carinthia of the ducal 
dancing-hall; and she at the altar rails; she on the 
coach box; she alternately softest of brides, doughtiest 
of Amazons. A mate for the caress, an electrical heroine, 
fronted him. 

Yes, and she was Lord Fleetwood's wife, cracking 
sconces, — a demoiselle Moll Flanders, — the world's 
Whitechapel Countess out for an airing, infernally 
earnest about it, madly ludicrous ; the schemer to catch 
his word, the petticoated Shylock to bind him to the 
letter of it; now persecuting, haunting him, now im- 
moveable for obstinacy; malignant to stay down in 
those vile slums and direct tons of sooty waters on his 
head from its mains in the sight of London, causing 
the least histrionic of, men to behave as an actor. He 
beheld her a skull with a lamp behind the eyeholes. 

But this woman was the woman who made him a 
father; she was the mother of the heir of the House; 
and the boy she clasped and suckled as her boy was his 
boy. They met inseparably in that new life. 

Truly, there could not be a woman of flesh so near 
to a likeness with the beatific image of Feltre's wor- 
shipped Madonna ! 

The thought sparkled and darkened in Fleetwood's 
mind, as a star passing into cloud. For an uproarious 
world claimed the woman, jeered at all allied with her; 
at her husband most, of course : — the punctilious noodle! 
the golden jackass, tethered and goaded! He had 
choice among the pick of women : the daughter of the 
Old Buccaneer was preferred by the wiseacre Coelebs. 
She tricked him cunningly and struck a tremendous 
return blow in producing her male infant. 

By the way, was she actually born in wedlock ? Lord 



INTO A STEAMER'S ENGINE-ROOM 275 

Levellier's assurances regarding her origin were, by, the 
calculation, a miser's shuffles to clinch his bargain. 
Assuming the representative of holy motherhood to be 
a woman of illegitimate birth, the history of the House 
to which the spotted woman gave an heir would suffer a 
jolt when touching on her. And altogether the history 
fumed rank vapours. Imagine her boy in his father's 
name a young collegian ! No commonly sensitive lad 
could bear the gibes of the fellows raking at antecedents : 
Fleetwood would be the name to start roars. Smarting 
for his name, the earl chafed at 'the boy's mother. Her 
production of a man-child was the further and grosser 
offence. 

The world sat on him. His confession to some degree 
of weakness, even to folly, stung his pride of individuality 
so that he had to soothe the pain by tearing himself from 
a thought of his folly's partner, shutting himself up and 
away from her. Then there was a cessation of annoy- 
ance, flatteringly agreeable : which can come to us only 
of our having done the right thing, young men will 
think. He felt at once warmly with the world, enjoyed 
the world's kind shelter, and in return for its eulogy of 
his unprecedented attachment to the pledge of his word, 
admitted an understanding of its laughter at the burlesque 
edition of a noble lady in the person of the Whitechapel 
Countess. The world sat on him heavily. 

He recurred to Gower Woodseer's letter. 

The pictures and images in it were not the principal 
matter, — the impression had been deep. A plain tran- 
scription of the young mother's acts and words did 
more to portray her : the reader could supply reflections. 

Would her boy's father be very pleased to see him? 
she had asked. 

And she spoke of a fear that the father would try to 
take her boy from her. 



276 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Never that — you have my word!' Fleetwood said; 
and he nodded consentingly over her next remark : 
' Not while I live, till he must go to school ! ' 

The stubborn wife would be the last of women to sit 
and weep as a rifled mother. 

A child of the Countess Carinthia (he phrased it) 
would not be deficient in will, nor would the youngster 
lack bravery. 

For his part, comparison rushing at him and search- 
ing him, he owned that he leaned on pride. To think 
that he did, became a theme for pride. The mother 
had the primitive virtues, the father the developed : 
he was the richer mine. And besides, he was he, the 
unriddled, complex, individual he; she was the plain 
barbarian survival, good for giving her offspring bone, 
muscle, stout heart. 

Shape the hypothesis of a fairer woman the mother 
of the heir to the earldom. 

Henrietta was analyzed in a glimpse. Courage, animal 
healthfulness, she, too, might — her husband not obstruct- 
ing — transmit; and good looks, eyes of the sapphire 
.^gean. And therewith such pliability as the Mother 
of Love requires of her servants. 

Could that woman resist seductions ? 

Fleetwood's wrath with her for refusing him and 
inducing him in spite to pledge his word elsewhere, 
haphazard, pricked a curiosity to know whether the 
woman could be — and easily ! easily ! he wagered — ^led 
to make her conduct warrant for his contempt of her. 
Led, — that is, misled, you might say, if you were pleading 
for a doll. But it was necessary to bait the pleasures 
for the woman, in order to have full view of the precious 
fine fate one has escaped. Also to get well rid of a sort 
of hectic in the blood, which the woman's beauty has 
cast on that reflecting tide : a fever-sign, where the fever 



INTO A STEAMER'S ENGINE-ROOM 277 

has become quite emotionless and is merely desirous for 
the stain of it to be washed out. As this is not the desire 
to possess or even to taste, contempt will do it. When 
we know that the weaver of the fascinations is purchas- 
able, we toss her to the market where men buy ; and we 
walk released from vile subjection to one of the female 
heap : — subjection no longer, doubtless, and yet a stain 
of the past flush, often colouring our reveries, creating 
active phantasms of a passion absolutely extinct, if it 
ever was the veritable passion. 

The plot — ^formless plot — to get release by the sacri- 
fice or at least a crucial temptation of the woman, that 
should wash his blood clean of her image, had a shade 
of the devilish, he acknowledged; and the apology 
offered no improvement of its aspect. She might come 
out of the trial triumphant. And benefit for himself, 
even a small privilege, even the pressure of her hand, 
he not only shrank from the thought of winning, — he 
loathed the thought. He was too delicate over the 
idea of the married woman whom he fancied he loved 
in her maidenhood. Others might press her hand, lead 
her the dance : he simply wanted his release. She had 
set him on fire; he conceived a method for trampling 
the remaining sparks and erasing stain and scars; that 
was all. Henrietta rejected her wealthy suitor: she 
might some day hence be seen crawling abjectly to 
wealth, glad of a drink from the cup it holds, intoxicated 
with the draught. An injured pride could animate his 
wealth to crave solace of such a spectacle. 

Devilish, if you like. He had expiated the wicked- 
ness in Cistercian seclusion. His wife now drove him 
to sin again. 

She had given him a son. That fluted of home and 
honourable life. She had her charm, known to him alone. 
, But how, supposing she did not rub him to bristle 



278 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

with fresh irritations, how go to his wife while Henri- 
etta held her throne ? Consideration was due to her 
until she stumbled. Enough if she wavered. Almost 
enough is she stood firm as a statue in the winds, and 
proved that the first page of her was a false introduction. 
The surprising apparition of a beautiful woman with 
character; a lightly-thrilled, pleasure-loving woman 
devoted to her husband or protected by her rightful 
self-esteem, would loosen him creditably. It had to be 
witnessed, for faith in it. He reverenced our legendary 
good women, and he bowed to noble deeds; and he 
ascribed the former to poetical creativeness, the latter 
operated as a scourging to his flesh to yield its demoniacal 
inmates. Nothing of the kind was doing at present. 

Or stay: a studious re-perusal of Gower Woodseer's 
letter enriched a little incident. Fleetwood gave his 
wife her name of Carinthia when he had read deliberately 
and caught the scene. 

Mrs. Wythan down in Wales related it to Gower. 
Carinthia and Madge, trudging over the treeless hills, 
came on a birchen clump round a deep hollow or gully- 
pit ; precipitous, the earl knew, he had peeped over the 
edge in his infant days. There at the bottom, in a 
foot or so of water, they espied a lamb ; and they rescued 
the poor beastie by going down to it, one or both. It 
must have been the mountain-footed one. A man 
would hesitate, spying below. Fleetwood wondered 
how she had managed to climb up, and carrying the 
lamb ! Down pitches Madge Winch to help — they did 
it between them. We who stand aloof admire stupidly. 
To defend himself from admiring, he condemned the 
two women for the risk they ran to save a probably 
broken-legged little beast: and he escaped the melting 
mood by forcing a sneer at the sort of stuff out of which 
popular ballads are woven. Carinthia was accused of 



INTO A STEAMER'S ENGINE-ROOM 279 

letting her adventurous impulses and sentimental female 
compassion swamp thought of a mother's duties. If 
both those women had broken their legs the child might 
have cried itself into fits for the mother, there she would 
have remained. 

Gower wrote in a language transparent of the act, 
addressed to a reader whose memory was to be impreg- 
nated. His reader would have flown away from the 
simple occurrence on arabesques and modulated tones; 
and then envisaging them critically, would have tossed 
his poor little story to the winds, as a small thing magni- 
fied : with an object, being the next thought about it. 
He knew his Fleetwood so far. 

His letter concluded: 'I am in a small Surrey village 
over a baker's shop, rent eight shillings per week, a 
dame's infant school opposite my window, miles of 
firwood, heath, and bracken openings, for the winged or 
the nested fancies. Love Nature, she makes you a lord 
of her boundless, off any ten square feet of common 
earth. I go through my illusions and come always 
back on that good truth. It says, beware of the world's 
passion for flavours and spices. Much tasted, they turn 
and bite the biter. My exemplars are the lately breeched 
youngsters with two pence in their pockets for the ginger- 
bread-nut booth on a fair day. I learn more from one of 
them than you can from the whole cavalcade of your 
attendant Ixionides.' 

Mounting the box of his coach for the drive to London, 
Fleetwood had the new name for the parasitic and sham 
vital troop at his ears. 

'My Ixionides!' he repeated, and did not scorn 
them so much as he rejoiced to be enlightened by the 
title. He craved the presence of the magician who 
dropped illumination with a single word; wholesomer 
to think of than ihe whole body of those Ixionides : — 



280 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

not bad fellows, here and there, he reflected, tolerantly, 
half laughing at some of their clownish fun. Gower 
Woodseer and he had not quarrelled? No, they had 
merely parted at one of the crossways. The plebeian 
could teach that son of the genuflexions. Lord Feltre, a 
lesson in manners. Woodseer was the better comrade 
and director of routes. Into the forest, up on the heights ; 
and free, not locked; and not parroting day and night, 
but quick for all that the world has learnt and can tell, 
though two-thirds of it be composed of Ixionides : that 
way lies wisdom, and his index was cut that way. 

Arrived in town, he ran over the headings of his letters, 
in no degree anxious for a communication from Wales. 
There was none. Why none? 

She might as well have scrawled her announcement 
of an event pleasing to her, and, by the calculation, 
important to him, if not particularly interesting. The 
mother's wifeish lines would, perhaps, have been tested 
in a furnace. He smarted at the blank of any, of even 
two or three formal words. She sulked? 'I am not a 
fallen lamb !' he said. Evidently one had to be a 
shivering beast in trouble, to excite her to move a hand. 

Through so slight a fissure as this piece of discontent 
cracked in him, the crowd of his grievances with the 
woman rushed pell-mell, deluging young shoots of 
sweeter feelings. She sulked ! If that woman could 
not get the command, he was to know her incapable of 
submission. After besmutting the name she had filched 
from him, she let him understand that there was no 
intention to repent. Possibly she meant war. In which 
case a man must fly, or stand assailed by the most in- 
tolerable of vulgar farces; — to be compared to a pelting 
of one on the stage. 

The time came for him to knock at doors and face his 
public. 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 281 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

BY CONCESSIONS TO MISTRESS GOSSIP A FURTHER 
INTRUSION IS AVERTED 

LiviA welcomed him, with commiserating inquiry behind 
her languid eyelids. 'You have all the latest?' it 
said. 

He struck on the burning matter. 

'You wish to know the part you have to play, ma'am.' 

'Tell me, Russett.' 

'You will contradict nothing.' 

Her eyebrows asked, 'It means?' 

'You have authority from me to admit the facts.' 

'They are facts?' she remarked. 

'Women love teasing round certain facts, apparently; 
like the Law courts over their pet cases.' 

'But, Russett, will you listen?' 

'Has the luck been civil of late?' 

'I think of something else at present. No, it has 
not.' 

'Abrane?' 

'Pray, attend to me. No, not Abrane.' 

' I believe you 've all been cleared out in my absence. 
St. Ombre?' 

Her complexion varied. 'Mr. Ambrose Mallard has 
once or twice . . . But let me beg you — the town is 
rageing with it. My dear Russett, a bold front now; 
there 's the chance of your release in view.' 

'A rascal in view ! Name the sum.' 

'I must reckon. My head is — can you intend to 
submit ? ' 

' So it 's Brosey Mallard now. You choose your 



282 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

deputy queerly. He 's as bad as Abrane, with steam 
to it. Chummy Potts would have done better.' 

'He wins one night; loses every pound-note he has 
the next; and comes vaunting the "dry still Sillery" 
of the establishment, — a perpetual chorus to his losses!' 

'His consolation to you for yours. That is the gentle- 
man. Chummy doesn't change. Say, why not St. 
Ombre ? He 's cool.' 

'There are reasons.' 

'Let them rest. And I have my reasons. Do the 
same for them.' 

'Yours concern the honour of the family.' 

' Deeply : respect them.' 

'Your relatives have to be thought of, though they 
are few and not too pleasant.' 

'If I had thought much of them, what would our 
relations be? They object to dicing, and I to leading 
strings.' 

She turned to a brighter subject, of no visible con- 
nection with the preceding. 

'Henrietta comes in May.' 

'The month of her colours.' 

'Her money troubles are terrible.' 

'Both of you appear unlucky in your partners, — if 
winning was the object. She shall have all the distrac- 
tions we can offer.' 

'Your visit to the Chartreuse alarmed her.' 

'She has rejoiced her husband.' 

'A girl. She feared the Jesuit in your friend.' 

'Feltre and she are about equally affected by music. 
They shall meet.' 

' Russett, this once : I do entreat you to take counsel 
with your good sense, and remember that you stand 
where you are by going against my advice. It is a 
perfect storm over London. The world has not to be 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 283 

informed of your generosity ; but a chivalry that invites 
the most horrible of sneers at a man! And what can 
I say? I have said it was impossible.' 

'Add the postscript : you find it was perfectly possible.' 

'I have to learn more than I care to hear.' 

'Your knowledge is not in request: you will speak 
in my name.' 

'Will you consult your lawyers, Russett, before you 
commit yourself?' 

'I am on my way to Lady Arpington.' 

'You cannot be thinking how serious it is.' 

'I rather value the opinion of a hard-headed woman 
of the world.' 

'Why not listen to me?' 

'You have your points, ma'am. 

'She 's a torch.' 

'She serves my purpose.' 

Livia shrugged sadly. 'I suppose it serves your 
purpose to be unintelligible to me.' 

He rendered himself intelligible immediately by say- 
ing, ' Before I go — a thousand ? ' 

'Oh, my dear Russett!' she sighed. 

'State the amount.' 

She seemed to be casting unwieldly figures and he 
helped her with, 'Mr. Isaacs?' 

' Not less than three, I fear.' 

'Has he been pressing?' 

'You are always good to us, Russett.' 

'You are always considerate for the honour of the 
family, ma'am. Order for the money with you here 
to-morrow. And I thank you for your advice. Do me 
the favour to follow mine. 

'Commands should be the word!' 

'Phrase it as you please.' 
, 'You know I hate responsibility.' 



284 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'The chorus in classical dramas had generally that 
sentiment, but the singing was the sweeter for it.' 

'Whom do you not win when you condescend to the 
mood, you dear boy?' 

He restrained a bitter reply, touching the kind of 
persons he had won : a girl from the mountains, a philo- 
sophical tramp of the roads, troops of the bought. 

Livia spelt at the problem he was. She put away 
the task of reading it. He departed to see Lady Ar- 
pington, and thereby rivet his chains. 

As Livia had said, she was a torch. Lady Endor, 
Lady Eldritch, Lady Cowry, kindled at her. Again 
there were flights of the burning brands over London. 
The very odd marriage; the no-marriage; the two- 
ends-of-the-town marriage; and the maiden marriage 
a fruitful marriage; the monstrous marriage of the 
countess productive in banishment, and the unread- 
able earl accepting paternity; this Amazing Marriage 
was again the riddle in the cracker for tattlers and 
gapers. It rattled upon the world's native wantonness, 
the world's acquired decorum : society's irrepressible 
original and its powerfully resisting second nature. 
All the rogues of the fine sphere ran about with it, male 
and female ; and there was the narrative that suggestively 
skipped, and that which trod the minuet measure, 
dropping a curtsey to ravenous curiosity; the apology 
surrendering its defensible cause in supplications to 
benevolence; and the benevolence damnatory in a too 
eloquent urgency; followed by the devout objection 
to a breath of the subject, so blackening it as to call 
forth the profanely circumstantial exposition. Smirks, 
blushes, dead silences, and in the lower regions roars, 
hung round it. 

But the lady, though absent, did not figure poorly 
at all. Granting Whitechapel and the shillelagh affair, 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 285 

certain whispers of her good looks, contested only to 
be the more violently asserted; and therewith Rose 
Mackrell's tale of her being a 'young woman of birth/ 
having a ' romantic story to tell of herself and her parent- 
age,' made her latest performance the champagne event 
of it hitherto. Men sparkled when they had it on their 
lips. 

How, then, London asked, would the Earl of Fleet- 
wood move his pieces in reply to his countess's par- 
ticularly clever indication of the check threatening 
mate? 

His move had no relation to the game, it was thought 
at first. The world could not suppose that he moved 
a simple pawn on his marriage board. He purchased 
a shop in Piccadilly for the sale of fruit and flowers. 

Lady Arpington was entreated to deal at the shop, 
Countess Livia had her orders; his friends, his para- 
sites and satellites, were to deal there. Intensely 
earnest as usual, he besought great ladies to let him 
have the overflow of their hothouses; and they class- 
ing it as another of the mystifications of a purse crazy 
for repleteness, inquired : ' But is it you we are to deal 
with ? ' And he quite seriously said : ' With me, yes, 
at present.' Something was behind the curtain, of course. 
His gravity had the effect of the ultra-comical in conceal- 
ing it. 

The shop was opened. We have the assurance of 
Rose Mackrell, that he entered and examined the piles 
and pans of fruit, and the bouquets cunningly arranged 
by a hand smelling French. The shop was roomy, 
spkndid windows lighted the yellow, the golden, the 
green and parti-coloured stores. Four doors off, a 
chemist's motley in bellied glasses crashed on the sight. 
Passengers along the pavement had presented to them 
such a contrast as might be shown if we could imagine 



286 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the Lethean ferry-boatload brought sharp against 
Pomona's lapful. In addition to the plucked flowers 
and fruits of the shop, Rose Mackrell more attentively 
examined the samples doing service at the counters. 
They were three, under supervision of a watchful-eyed 
fourth. Dame Gossip is for quoting his wit. But the 
conclusion he reached, after quitting the shop and 
pacing his dozen steps, is important ; for it sent a wind 
over the town to set the springs of tattle going as wildly 
as when the herald's trumpet blew the announcement 
for the world to hear out of Wales. 

He had observed, that the young woman supervising 
was deficient in the ease of an established superior; 
her brows were troubled; she was, therefore, a lieu- 
tepant elevated from a lower grade ; and, to his thinking, 
conducted the business during the temporary retirement 
of the mistress of the shop. 

And the mistress of the shop? 

The question hardly needs be put. 

Rose Mackrell or his humour answered it in unfalter- 
ing terms. 

LondoA heard, with the variety of feelings which are 
indistinguishable under a flooding amazement, that the 
beautiful new fruit and flower shop had been purchased 
and stocked by the fabulously wealthy young Earl of 
Fleetwood, to give his Whitechapel Countess a taste 
for business, an occupation, and an honourable means 
of livelihood. 

There was. Dame Gossip thumps to say, a general 
belief in this report. Crowds were on the pavement, 
peering through the shop-windows. Carriages driving 
by stopped to look. My lord himself had been visible, 
displaying his array of provisions to friends. Nor was 
credulity damped appreciably when over the shop, in 
gold letters, appeared the name of Sarah Winch. It 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 287 

might be the countess's maiden name, if she really was 
a married countess. 

But, in truth, the better informed of the town, having 
begun to think its Croesus capable of any eccentricity, 
chose to believe. They were at the pitch of excitement 
which demands and will swallow a succession of wilder 
extravagances. To accelerate the delirium of the fun, 
nothing was too much, because any absurdity was 
anticipated. And the earl's readiness to be compli- 
mented on the shop's particular merits, his gratified 
air at an allusion to it, whirled the fun faster. He 
seemed entirely unconscious that each step he now took 
wakened peals. 

For such is the fate of a man who has come to be 
dogged by the humourist for the provision he furnishes ; 
and, as it happens, he is the more laughable if not in 
himself a laughable object. The earl's handsome 
figure, fine style, and contrasting sobriety heightened 
the burlesque of his call to admiration of a shop where 
Whitechapel would sit in state — according to the fiction 
so closely under the lee of fact that they were not strictly 
divisible. Moreover, Sarah Winch, whom Chumley 
Potts drew into conversation, said, he vowed, she came 
up West from Whitechapel. She said it a little ner- 
vously, but without blushing. Always on the side of 
the joke, he could ask: 'Who can doubt?' Indeed, 
scepticism poisoned the sport. 

The Old Buccaneer has written: Friends may laugh; 
I am not roused. My enemy's laugh is a bugle blown 
in the night. 

Our enemy's laugh at us rouses to wariness, he would 
say. He can barely mean, that a condition of drowsi- 
head is other than providently warned by laughter of 
friends. An old warrior's tough fibre would, perhaps, be 
insensible to that small crackle. In civil life, however, 



288 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the friend's laugh at us is the loudest of the danger 
signals to stop our course : and the very wealthy noble- 
man, who is known for not a fool, is kept from hear- 
ing it. Unless he does hear it, he can have no 
suspicion of its being about him: he cannot imagine 
such Use-majeste in the subservient courtiers too prudent 
to betray a sign. So Fleetwood was unwarned; and 
his child-like unconsciousness of the boiling sentiments 
around, seasoned, pricked, and maddened his parasites 
under compression to invent, for a faint relief. He had 
his title for them, they their tales of him. 

Dame Gossip would recount the tales. She is of the 
order of persons inclining to suspect the tittle of truth 
in prodigies of scandal. She is rustling and bustling 
to us of ' Carinthia Jane's run up to London to see Sarah 
Winch's grand new shop,' an eclipse of all existing grand 
London western shops; and of Rose Mackrell's account 
of her dance of proud delight in the shop, ending with a 
'lovely cheese' just as my lord enters; and then a scene, 
wild beyond any conceivable 'for pathos and humour' 
— ^her pet pair of the dissimilar twins, both banging at 
us for tear-drops by different roads, through a common 
aperture : — and the earl has the Whitechapel baby boy 
plumped into his arms; and the countess fetches him a 
splendid bob-dip and rises out of a second cheese to twirl 
and fandango it ; and, all serious on a sudden, request, 
whimperingly beseech, his thanks to her for the crowing 
successor she has presented him with : my lord ulti- 
mately, but carefully, depositing the infant on a basket 
of the last oranges of the season, fresh from the Azores, 
by delivery off my lord's own schooner-yacht in South- 
ampton water; and escaping, leaving his gold-headed 
stick behind him — a trophy for the countess ? a weapon, 
it may be. 

Quick she tucks up her skirts, she is after him. Dame 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 289 

Gossip speaks amusingly enough of the chase, and many 
eye-witnesses to the earl's flight at top speed down the 
right side of the way along by the Green Park; and of 
a Prince of the Blood, a portly Royal Duke on foot, 
bumped by one or the other of them, she cannot pre- 
cisely say which, but 'thinks it to have been Carinthia 
Jane,' because the exalted personage, his shock of sur- 
prise abating, turned and watched the chase, in much 
merriment. And it was called, we are informed, 'The 
Piccadilly Hare and Hound' from that day. 

Some tradition of an extenuated nobleman pursued 
by a light-footed lady amid great excitement, there is; 
the Dame attaches importance also to verses of one 
of the ballads beginning to gain currency at the time 
(issuing ostensibly from London's poetic centre, the 
Seven Dials, which had, we are to conjecture, got the 
story by discolouring filtration through footmen re- 
tailing in public-houses the stock of anecdotes they 
gathered when stationed behind Rose Mackrell's chair, 
or Captain Abrane's, or Chumley Potts's), and would 
have the whole of it quoted : — 

' The' fair I be a powdered peruke, 

And once was a gaping silly, 
Your Whitechapel Countess will prove, Lord Duke, 

She 's a regular tiger-lily. 
She '11 fight you with cold steel or she '11 run you off your legs 

Down the length of Piccadilly!" 

That will satisfy ; and perhaps indicate the hand. 

'Popular sympathy, of course, was all on the side 
of the Fair, as ever in those days when women had not 
forfeited it by stepping from their sanctuary seclusion.' 

The Dame shall expose her confusions. She really 
would seem to fancy that the ballad verifies the main 
lines of the story, which is an impossible one. Carinthia 



290 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had not the means to travel : she was moneyless. 
Every bill of her establishment was paid without stint 
by Mr. Howell Edwards, the earl's manager of mines ; 
but she had not even the means for a journey to the 
Gowerland rocks she longed to see. She had none 
since she forced her brother to take the half of her share 
of their inheritance, £1400, and sent him the remainder. 

Accepted by Chillon John as a loan, says Dame Gossip, 
and no sooner received than consumed by the pressing 
necessities of a husband with the Rose Beauty of England 
to support in the comforts and luxuries he deemed 
befitting. 

Still the Dame leans to her opinion that 'Carinthia 
Jane' may have been seen about London: for 'where 
we have much smoke there must be fire.' And the 
countess never denying an imputation not brought 
against her in her hearing, the ballad was unchallenged 
and London's wags had it their own way. Among the 
reasons why they so persistently hunted the earl, his air 
of a smart correctness shadowed by this new absurdity 
invited them, as when a spot of mud on the trimmest of 
countenances arrests observation. Humour plucked at 
him the more for the good faith of his handsome look 
under the prolific little disfigurement. Besides, a wealthy 
despot, with no conception of any hum around him, will 
have the wags in his track as surely as the flexibles in 
front : they avenge his exactions. 

Fleetwood was honestly unaware of ridicule in the 
condition of inventive mania at his heels. Scheming, 
and hesitating to do, one-half of his mind was absorbed 
with the problem of how now to treat the mother of 
his boy. Her behaviour in becoming a mother was ac- 
knowledged to be good: the production of a boy was 
good — considerate, he almost thought. He grew so 
far reconciled to her as to have intimations of a softness 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 291 

coming on ; a wish to hear her speak of the trifling kind- 
ness done to the sister of Madge in reward of kindness 
done to her ; wishes for looks he remembered, secret to 
him, more his own than any possessions. Dozens of men 
had wealth, some had beautiful wives ; none could claim 
as his own that face of the look of sharp steel melting into 
the bridal flower, when she sprang from her bed to defend 
herself and recognized the intruder at her window, stood 
smitten: — 'It is my husband.' Moonlight gave the 
variation of her features. 

And that did not appease the resentment tearing 
him from her, so justifiable then, as he forced himself to 
think, now hideous. Glimpses of the pictures his deeds 
painted of him since his first meeting with this woman 
had to be shunned. He threw them off; they were set 
down to the mystery men are. The degrading, utterly 
different, back view of them teaches that Life is an irony. 
If the teaching is not accepted, and we are to take the 
blame, can we bear to live? Therefore, either way the 
irony of Life is proved. Young men straining at thought, 
in the grip of their sensations, reach this logical con- 
clusion. They will not begin by examining the ground 
they stand on, and questioning whether they have con- 
sciences at peace with the steps to rearward. 

Having established Life as the coldly malignant 
element, which induces to what it chastises, a loathing 
of womanhood, the deputed Mother of Life, ensues, 
by natural sequence. And if there be one among women 
who disturbs the serenity we choose to think our due, 
she wears for us the sinister aspect of a confidential 
messenger between Nemesis and the Parcse. Fleetwood 
was thus compelled to regard Carinthia as both originally 
and successively the cause of his internal as well as his 
exterior discomfort; otherwise those glimpses would 
have burnt into perpetual stigmas. He had also to get 



292 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

his mind away from her. They pleaded against him 
volubly with the rising of her image into it. 

His manager at the mines had sent word of ominous 
discontent down there. His presence might be required. 
Obviously, then, the threatened place was unfitting for 
the Countess of Fleetwood. He despatched a kind of 
order through Mr. Howell Edwards, that she should 
remove to Esslemont to escape annoyances. Esslemont 
was the preferable residence. She could there entertain 
her friends, could spend a pleasanter time there. 

He waited for the reply ; Edwards deferred it. 

Were they to be in a struggle with her obstinate will 
once more? 

Henrietta was preparing to leave London for her 
dismal, narrow, and, after an absence, desired love- 
nest. The earl called to say farewell, cool as a loyal 
wife could wish him to be, admiring perforce. Mar- 
riage and maternity withdrew nothing — added to the 
fair young woman's bloom. 

She had gone to her room to pack and dress. Livia 
received him. In the midst of the casual commonplaces 
her memory was enlightened. 

' Oh,' said she, and idly drew a letter out of a blotting- 
pad, 'we have heard from Wales.' She handed it to 
him. 

Before he knew the thing he did, he was reading : — 

'There is no rest for my brother, and I cannot help; 
I am kept so poor I have not the smallest of sums. I 
do not wish to leave Wales — ^the people begin to love 
me; and can one be mistaken? I know if I am loved 
or hated. But if my lord will give me an allowance of 
money of some hundreds, I will do his bidding; I will 
leave England or I will go to Esslemont ; I could say — 
to Mr. Woodseer, in that part of London. He would 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 293 

not permit. He thinks me blacked by it, like a sweep- 
boy coming from a chimney; and that I have done 
injury to his title. No, Riette, to be a true sister, I 
must bargain with my lord before I submit. He has 
not cared to come and see his little son. His boy has 
not offended him. There may be some of me in this 
dear. I know whose features will soon show to defend 
the mother's good name. He is early my champion. 
He is not christened yet, and I hear it accuse me, and 
I am not to blame, — I still wait my lord's answer.' 

'Don't be bothered to read the whole,' Li via had 
said, with her hand out, when his eyes were halfway ' 
down the page. 

Fleetwood turned it, to read the signature : ' Janey.' 

She seemed servile enough to some of her friends. 
'Carinthia' would have had a pleasanter sound. He 
folded the letter. 

' Why give me this ? Take it,' said he. 

She laid it on the open pad. 

Henrietta entered and had it restored to her, Livia 
remarking: 'I found it in the blotter after all.' 

She left them together, having to dress for the drive 
to the coach office with Henrietta. 

'Poor amusement for you this time.' Fleetwood 
bowed, gently smiling. 

'Oh!' cried Henrietta, 'balls, routs, dinners, music 
— as much music as I could desire, even I ! What more 
could be asked? I am eternally grateful.' 

'The world says, you are more beautiful than ever.' 

'Happiness does it, then, — ^happiness owing to you, 
Lord Fleetwood.' 

' Columelli pleases you ? ' 

' His voice is heavenly ! He carries me away from 
earth.' 



294 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'He is a gentleman, too — ^rare with those fellows.' 

'A pretty manner. He will speak his compliments 
in his English.' 

'You are seasoned to endure them in all languages. 
Pity another of your wounded : — Brailstone has been 
hard hit at the tables. 

'I cannot pity gamblers. — May I venture? — ^half a 
word?' 

'Tomes ! But just a little compassion for the devoted. 
He wouldn't play so madly — if, well, say a tenth dilution 
of the rapt hearing Columelli gets.' 

'Signor Columelli sings divinely.' 

'You don't dislike Brailstone?' 

'He is one of the agreeable.' 

'He must put his feelings into Italian song!' 

'To put them aside will do.' 

'We are not to have our feelings?' 

'Yes, on the proviso that ours are respected. But, 
one instant. Lord Fleetwood, pray. She is — I have to 
speak of her as my sister. I am sure she regrets . . . 
She writes very nicely.' 

'You have a letter from her?' 

Henrietta sighed that it would not bear exposure to 
him: 'Yes.' 

' Nicely worded ? ' 

'Well, yes, it is.' 

He paused, not expecting that the letter would be 
shown, but silence fired shots, and he had stopped the 
petition. 'We are to have you for a week's yachting. 
You prescribe your company. Only be merciful. Ex- 
clusion will mean death to some. Columelli will be tour- 
ing in Switzerland. You shall have him in the house 
when my new bit of ground Northwest of London is 
open : very handy, ten miles out. We '11 have the 
Opera troupe there, and you shall command the Opera.' 



A FUKTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 295 

Her beauty sweetened to thank him. 

If, as Livia said, his passion for her was unchanged, 
the generosity manifested in the considerate screen 
it wore over any physical betrayal of it, deserved the 
lustre of her eyes. It dwelt a moment, vivid with 
the heart close behind and remorseful for misreading 
of old his fine character. Here was a young man who 
could be the very kindest of friends to the woman re- 
jecting him to wed another. Her smile wavered. How 
shall a loving wife express warmth of sentiment else- 
where, without the one beam too much, that plunges 
her on a tideway ? His claim of nothing called for every- 
thing short of the proscribed. She gave him her beauty 
in fullest flower. 

It had the appearance of a temptation; and he was 
not tempted, though he admired; his thought being. 
Husband of the thing ! 

But he admired. That condition awakened his un- 
satisfied past days to desire positive proof of her worth- 
lessness. The past days writhed in him. The present 
were loveless, entirely cold. He had not even the wish 
to press her hand. The market held beautiful women of 
a like description. He wished simply to see her proved 
the thing he read her to be : and not proved as such by 
himself. He was unable to summon or imagine emotion 
enough for him to simulate the forms by which fair 
women are wooed to their perdition. For all he cared, 
any man on earth might try, succeed or fail, as long as 
he had visual assurance that she coveted, a slave to the 
pleasures commanded by the wealth once disdained by 
her. Till that time, he could not feel himself perfectly 
free. 

Dame Gossip prefers to ejaculate. Young men are 
mysteries ! and bowl us onward. No one ever did com- 
prehend the Earl of Fleetwood, she says : he was bad. 



296 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he was good ; he was whimsical and stedf ast ; a splendid 
figure, a mark for ridicule; romantic and a close arith- 
metician; often a devil, sometimes the humanest of 
creatures. 

In fine, he was a millionaire nobleman, owning to 
a considerable infusion of Welsh blood in the com- 
position of him. Now, to the Cymry and to the pure 
Kelt, the past is at their elbows continually. The past 
of their lives has lost neither face nor voice behind the 
shroud; nor are the passions of the flesh, nor is the 
animate soul, wanting to it. Other races forfeit infancy, 
forfeit youth and manhood with their progression to the 
wisdom age may bestow. These have each stage always 
alive, quick at a word, a scent, a sound, to conjure up 
scenes, in spirit and in flame. Historically, they still 
march with Cadwallader, with Llewellyn, with Glendower ; 
sing with Aneurin, Taliesin, old Llywarch : individually, 
they are in the heart of the injury done them thirty years 
back or thrilling to the glorious deed which strikes an 
empty buckler for most of the sons of Time. An old 
sea rises in them, rolling no phantom billows to break 
to spray against existing rocks of the shore. That is why, 
and even if they have a dose of the Teuton in them, they 
have often to feel themselves exiles when still in amicable 
community among the preponderating Saxon English. 

Add to the single differentiation enormous wealth 
— we convulse the excellent Dame by terming it a chained 
hurricane, to launch in foul blasts or beneficent showers, 
according to the moods during youth — and the composite 
Lord Fleetwood comes nearer into our focus. Dame 
Gossip, with her jigging to be at the butterwoman's trot, 
when she is not violently interrupting, would suffer just 
punishment were we to digress upon the morality of a 
young man's legal possession of enormous wealth as 
well. 



A FURTHER INTRUSION AVERTED 297 

Wholly Cambrian Fleetwood was not. But he had 
to the full the Cambrian's reverential esteem for high 
qualities. His good-bye with Henrietta, and estimate 
of her, left a dusky mental void requiring an orb of 
some sort for contemplation; and an idea of the totally 
contrary Carinthia, the woman he had avowedly wedded, 
usurped her place. Qualities were admitted. She was 
thrust away because she had offended : still more be- 
cause he had offended. She bore the blame for forcing 
him to an examination of his conduct at this point 
and that, where an ancestral savage in his lineaments 
cocked a strange eye. Yet at the moment of the act 
of the deed he had known himself the veritable Fleet- 
wood. He had now to vindicate himself by extinguish- 
ing her under the load of her unwomanliness : she was 
like sun-dried linen matched beside oriental silk : she 
was rough, crisp, unyielding. That was now the capital 
charge. Henrietta could never be guilty of the unfeminine. 
Which did he prefer? 

It is of all questions the one causing young men to 
screw wry faces when they are asked; they do so love 
the feminine, the ultra-feminine, whom they hate for her 
inclination to the frail. His depths were sounded, and 
he answered independently of his will, that he must be 
up to the heroical pitch to decide. Carinthia stood near 
him then. The confession was a step, and fraught with 
consequences. Her unacknowledged influence expedited 
him to Sarah Winch's shop, for sight of one of earth's 
honest souls; from whom he had the latest of the two 
others down in Wales, and of an infant there. 

He dined the host of his Ixionides, leaving them early 
for a drive at night Eastward, and a chat with old Mr. 
Woodseer over his punching and sewing of his boot- 
leather. Another honest soul. Mr. Woodseer thank- 
fully consented to mount his coach-box next day, and 



298 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

astonish Gower with a drop on his head from the skies 
about the time of the mid-day meal. 

There we have our peep into Dame Gossip's young 
man mysterious. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

CAEINTHIA IN WALES 

An August of gales and rains drove Atlantic air over 
the Welsh highlands. Carinthia's old father had im- 
pressed on her the rapture of 'smelling salt' when by 
chance he stood and threw up his nostrils to sniff largely 
over a bed of bracken, that reminded him of his element, 
and her fancy would be at strain to catch his once 
proud riding of the seas. She felt herself an elder 
daughter of the beloved old father, as she breathed it in 
full volume from the billowy West one morning early 
after sunrise and walked sisterly with the far-seen in- 
experienced little maid, whom she saw trotting beside 
him through the mountain forest, listening, storing his 
words, picturing the magnetic, veined great gloom of 
an untasted world. 

This elder daughter had undergone a shipwreck; but 
clear proof that she had not been worsted was in the 
unclouded liveliness of the younger one gazing forward. 
Imaginative creatures who are courageous will never be 
lopped of the hopeful portion of their days by personal 
misfortune. Carinthia could animate both; it would 
have been a hurt done to a living himian soul had she 
suffered the younger self to run overcast. Only, the 
gazing forward had become interdicted to her experi- 
enced self. Nor could she vision a future having any 
horizon for her child. She saw it in bleak squares, and 



CARINTHIA IN WALES 299 

snuggled him between dangers weathered and dangers 
apprehended. 

The conviction that her husband hated her had sunk 
into her nature. Hating the mother, he would not love 
her boy. He was her boy, and strangely bestowed, not 
beautifully to be remembered rapturously or gratefully, 
and with deep love of the father. She felt the wound 
recollection dealt , her. But the boy was her one 
treasure, and no treasure to her husband. They were 
burdens, and the heir of his House, child of a hated 
mother, was under perpetual menace from an unscrupu- 
lous tyrannical man. The dread and antagonism were 
first aroused by the birth of her child. She had not 
known while bearing him her present acute sensation of 
the hunted flying and at bay. Previously, she could 
say: I did wrong here; I did wrong there. Distrust 
had brought the state of war, which allows not of the 
wasting of our powers in confessions. 

Her husband fed her and he clothed her; the limita- 
tion of his bounty was sharply outlined. Sure of her 
rectitude, a stranger to the world, she was not very 
sensible of dishonour done to her name. It happened 
at times that her father inquired of her how things were 
going with his little Carin; and then revolt sprang up 
and answered on his behalf rather fiercely. She was, 
however, prepared for any treaty including forgiveness, 
if she could be at peace in regard to her boy, and have 
an income of some help to her brother. Chillon was 
harassed on all sides; she stood incapable of aiding; 
so foolishly feeble in the shadow of her immense longing 
to strive for him, that she could think her husband had 
purposely lamed her with an infant. Her love of her 
brother, now the one man she loved, laid her insuffi- 
ciency on the rack and tortured imbecile cries from it. 

On the contrary, her strange husband had blest her 



300 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

with an infant. Everything was pardonable to him if 
he left her boy untouched in the mother's charge. Much 
alone as she was, she raised the dead to pet and cherish 
her boy. Chillon had seen him and praised him. Mrs. 
Owain Wythan, her neighbour over a hill, praised him 
above all babes on earth, poor childless woman ! 

She was about to cross the hill and breakfast with 
Mrs. Wythan. The time for the weaning of the babe 
approached, and had as prospect beyond it her dull fear 
that her husband would say the mother's work was done, 
and seize the pretext to separate them: and she could 
not claim a longer term to be giving milk, because her 
father had said : ' Not a quarter of a month more than 
nine for the milk of the mother' — or else the child 
would draw an unsustaining nourishment from the 
strongest breast. She could have argued her excep- 
tional robustness against another than he. But the 
dead father wanting to build a great race of men and 
women ruled. 

Carinthia knelt at the cradle of a princeling gone from 
the rich repast to his alternative kingdom. 

'You will bring him over when he wakes,' she said to 
Madge. 'Mrs. Wythan would like to see him every 
day. Martha can walk now.' 

'She can walk and hold a child in her two arms, my 
lady,' said Madge. 'She expects miners popping up 
out of the bare ground when she sees no goblins.' 

' They ! — they know him, they would not hurt him, 
they know my son,' her mistress answered. 

The population of the mines in revolt had no alarms 
for her. The works were empty down below. Men sat 
by the wayside brooding or strolled in groups, now and 
then loudly exercising their tongues; or they stood in 
circle to sing hymns : melancholy chants of a melancholy 
time for all. 



CARINTHIA IN WALES 301 

How would her father have acted by these men? 
He would have been among them. Dissensions in his 
mine were vapours of a day. Lords behaved differently. 
Carinthia fancied the people must regard their master 
as a foreign wizard, whose power they felt, without the 
chance of making their cry to him heard. She, too, 
dealt with a lord. It was now his wish for her to leave 
the place where she had found some shreds of a home in 
the thought of being useful. She was gathering the 
people's language; many of their songs she could sing, 
and please them by singing to them. They were not 
suspicious of her; at least, their women had open doors 
for her; the men, if shy, were civil. She had only to 
go below, she was greeted in the quick tones of their 
speech all along the street of the slate-roofs. 

But none loved the castle, and she as little, saving the 
one room in it where her boy lay. The grey of Welsh 
history knew a real castle beside the roaring brook 
frequently a torrent. This was an eighteenth century 
castellated habitation on the verge of a small wood 
midway up the height, and it required a survey of number- 
less happy recollections to illumine its walls or drape 
its chambers. The permanently lighted hearth of a 
dear home, as in that forsaken tmfavoured old white 
house of the wooded Austrian crags, it had not. Rather 
it seemed a place waiting for an ill deed to be done in 
it and stop all lighting of hearths thereafter. 

Out on the turf of the shaven hills, her springy step 
dispersed any misty fancies. Her short-winged hive set 
to work in her head as usual, building scaffoldings of 
great things to be done by ChUlon, present evils escaped. 
The rolling big bare hills with the riding clouds excited 
her as she mounted, and she was a figure of gladness on 
the ridge bending over to hospitable Plas Llwyn, where 
tjie Wythans lived, entertaining rich and poor alike. 



302 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

They had led the neighbourhood to call on the discarded 
Countess of Fleetwood. 

A warm strain of arms about her neck was Carinthia's 

welcome from Mrs. Wythan lying along the couch in 

her boudoir; an established invalid, who yearned sanely 

~to life, and caught a spark of it from the guest eyed 

tenderly by her as they conversed. 

'Our boy? — our Chillon Kirby till he has his baptism 
names ; he is well ? I am to see him ? ' 

'He follows me. He sleeps almost through the night 
now.' 

'Ah, my dear,' Mrs. Wythan sighed, imagining: 'It 
would disappoint me if he did not wake me.' 

' I wake at his old time and watch him.' 

Carinthia put on the baby's face in the soft mould 
of slumber. 

'I see him!' Mrs. Wythan cried. 'He is part mine. 
He has taught Owain to love babies.' 

A tray of breakfast was placed before the countess. 
'Mr. Wythan is down among his men?' she said. 

'Every morning, as long as this agitation lasts. I 
need not say good appetite to you after your walk. 
You have no fear of the men, I know. Owain's men 
are undisturbed; he has them in hand. Absentee 
masters can't expect continued harmony. Dear, he 
tells me Mr. Edwards awaits the earl.' 

Drinking her tea, Carinthia's eyelids shut; she set 
down her cup, 'If he must come,' she said. 'He wishes 
me to leave. I am to go again where I have no friends, 
and no language to leam, and can be of no use. It is not 
for me that I dread his coming. He speaks to command. 
The men ask to be heard. He will have submission first. 
They do not trust him. His coming is a danger. For 
me, I should wish him to come. May I say . . .?' 

'Your Rebecca bids you say, my darling.' 



CARINTHIA IN WALES 303 

'It is, I am with the men because I am so like them. 
I beg to be heard. He commands obedience. He is 
a great nobleman, but I am the daughter of a greater 
man, and I have to say, that if those poor miners do 
harm, I will not stand by and see an anger against in- 
justice punished. I wish his coming, for him to agree 
upon the Christian names of the boy. I feel his coming 
will do me injury in making me offend him worse. I 
would avoid that. Oh, dear soul! I may say it to 
you : — ^he cannot hurt me any more. I am spared loving 
him when I forgive him; and I do. The loving is the 
pain. That is gone by.' 

Mrs. Wythan fondled and kissed Carinthia's hand. 

' Let me say in my turn ; I may help you, dear. You 
know I have my husband's love, as he mine. Am I, 
have I ever been a wife to him? Here I lie, a dead 
weight, to be carried up and down, all of a wife that 
Owain has had for years. I lie and pray to be taken, 
that my good man, my proved good man, may be free 
to choose a healthy young woman and be rewarded 
before his end by learning what a true marriage is. The 
big simpleton will otherwise be going to his grave, think- 
ing he was married ! I see him stepping about softly 
in my room, so contented if he does not disturb me, and 
he crushes me with a desire to laugh at him while I 
worship. I tricked him into marrying the prostrate 
invalid I am, and he can't discover the trick, he ivill 
think it 's a wife he has, instead of a doctor's doll. Oh ! 
you have a strange husband, it has been a strange mar- 
riage for you, but you have your invincible health, you 
have not to lie and feel the horror of being a deception 
to a guileless man, whose love blindfolds him. The 
bitter ache to me is, that I can give nothing. You abound 
in power to give.' 
, Carinthia lifted her open hands forsignof their emptiness. 



304 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'My brother would not want, if I could give. He 
may have to sell out of the army, he thinks, fears ; and 
I must look on. Our mother used to say she had done 
something for her country in giving a son like Chillon 
to the British army. Poor mother! Our bright open- 
ing days all seem to end in rain. We should turn to 
Mr. Wythan for a guide.' 

'He calls you Morgan le Fay christianized.' 

'What I am!' Carinthia raised and let fall her 
head. 'An example makes dwarfs of us. When Mr. 
Wythan does penance for temper by descending into 
his mine and working among his men for a day with 
the pick, seated, as he showed me down below, that is 
an example. If I did like that, I should have no fire- 
damp in the breast, and not such a task to forgive, that 
when I succeed I kill my feelings.' 

The entry of Madge and Martha, the nurse-girl, with 
the overflowing armful of baby, changed their converse 
into melodious exclamations. 

'Kit Ines has arrived, my lady,' Madge said. 'I saw 
him on the road and stopped a minute.' 

Mrs. Wythan studied Carinthia. Her sharp invalid's 
ears had caught the name. She beckoned. 'The man 
who — the fighting man?' 

'It will be my child this time,' said Carinthia; 'I 
have no fear for myself.' She was trembling, though 
her features were hard for the war her lord had declared, 
as it seemed. 'Did he tell you his business here?' she 
asked of Madge. 

'He says, to protect you, my lady, since you won't 
leave.' 

' He stays at the castle ? ' 

'He is to stay there, he says, as long as the Welsh 
are out.' 

'The "Welsh" are misunderstood by Lord Fleetwood,' 



CARINTHIA IN WALES 305 

Mrs. Wythan said to Carinthia. 'He should live 
among them. They wUl not hurt their lady. Pro- 
tecting may be his intention; but we will have our 
baby safe here. Not?' she appealed. 'And baby's 
mother. How otherwise?' 

'You read my wishes/ Carinthia rejoined. 'The man 
I do not think a bad man. He has a master. While 
I am bound to my child I must be restful, and with 
the man at the castle Martha's goblins would jump 
about me day and night. My boy makes a coward of 
his mother.' 

'We merely take a precaution, and I have the pleas- 
ure of it,' said her hostess. 'Give orders to your maid : 
not less than a fortnight. It will rejoice my husband 
so much.' 

As with the warmly hospitable, few were the words. 
Madge was promised by her mistress plenty of oppor- 
tunities daily for seeing Kit Ines, and her mouth screwed 
to one of women's dimples at a corner. She went off 
in a cart to fetch boxes, thinking: We are a hunted 
lot ! So she was not mildly disposed for the company 
of Mr. Kit on her return to the castle. 

England's champion light-weight thought it hard 
that his coming down to protect the castle against 
the gibbering heathen Welsh should cause a clearing 
out, and solitariness for his portion. 

'What's the good of innocence if you 're always 
going to suspect a man!' he put it, like a true son of 
the pirates turned traders. ' I 've got a paytron, and 
a man in my profession must have a paytron, or where 
is he ? Where 's his money for a trial of skill ? Say 
he saves and borrows and finds the lump to clap it down, 
and he 's knocked out o' time. There he is, bankrup', 
and a devil of a licking into the bargain. That 's the 
creani of our profession, if a man has got no paytron. 



306 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

No prize-ring can live without one. The odds are too 
hard on us. My lady ought to take into account I 
behaved respectful when I was obliged to do my lord's 
orders and remove her from our haunts, which wasn't to 
his taste. Here I 'm like a cannon for defending the 
house, needs be, and all inside flies off scarified.' 

'It strikes me, Kit Ines, a man with a paytron is no 
better than a tool of a man,' said Madge. 

'And don't you go to be sneering at honest tools,' 
Ines retorted. 'When will women learn a bit of the 
world before they 're made hags of by old Father Wear- 
and-Tear ! A young woman in her prime, you Madge ! 
be such a fool as not see I serve tool to stock our shop.' 

'Your paytron bid you steal off with my lady's child, 
Kit Ines, you 'd do it to stock your shop.' 

Ines puffed. ' If you ain't a girl to wallop the wind ! 
Fancy me at that game ! Is that why my lady — but I 
can't be suspected that far? You make me break out 
at my pores. My paytron's a gentleman: he wouldn't 
ask and I couldn't act such a part. Dear Lord ! it 'd 
have to be stealing off, for my lady can use a stick; 
and put it to the choice between my lady and her child 
and any paytron living, paytron be damned, I 'd say, 
rather 'n go against my notions of honour. Have you 
forgot all our old talk about the prize-ring, the nursery 
of honour in Old England ? ' 

'That was before you sold yourself to a paytron, 
Kit Ines.' 

'Ah! Women wants mast-heading off and on, for 
'em to have a bit of a look-out over life as it is. They 
go stewing over books of adventure and drop into frights 
about awful man. Take me, now; you had a no small 
admiration for my manly valour once, and you trusted 
yourself to me, and did you ever repent it? — owning 
you 're not the young woman to tempt to t' other way.' 



CARINTHIA IN WALES 307 

'You wouldn't have found me talking to you here if 
I had.' 

'And here I 'm left to defend an empty castle, am I?' 

' Don't drink or you '11 have your paytron on you. 
He 's good use there.' 

'I ask it, can I see my lady?' 

'Drunk nor sober you won't. Serve a paytron, be 
a leper, you '11 find, with all honest folk.' 

Ines shook out an execrating leg at the foul word. 
'Leper, you say? You say that? You say leper to 
me?' 

'Strut your tallest, Kit Ines. It's the money rattles 
in your pocket says it.' 

' It 's my reputation for decent treatment of a woman 
lets you say it, Madge Winch.' 

'Stick to that as long as your paytron consents. 
It 's the one thing you 've got left.' 

'Benefit, you hussy, and mind you don't pull too stiff.' 

'Be the woman and have the last word !' 

His tongue was checked. He swallowed the exceed- 
ing sourness of a retort undelivered, together with the 
feeling that she beat him in the wrangle by dint of her 
being an unreasonable wench. 

Madge huffed away to fill her boxes. 

He stood by the cart, hands deep down his pockets, 
when she descended. She could have laughed at the 
spectacle of a champion prize-fighter out of employ, 
hulking idle, because he was dog to a paytron; but her 
contempt of him declined passing in small change. 

'So you 're off. What am I to tell my lord when he 
comes?' Kit growled. 'His yacht's fetching for a 
Welsh seaport.' 

She counted it a piece of information gained, and 
jumped to her seat, bidding the driver start. To have 
pretty well lost her character for a hero changed into 



308 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

a patron's dog, was a thought that outweighed the 
show of inciviUty. Some little distance away, she re- 
proached herself for not having been so civil as to inquire 
what day my lord was expected, by his appointment. 
The girl reflected on the strangeness of a body of dis- 
contented miners bringing my lord and my lady close, 
perhaps to meet. 



CHAPTER XXX 

EEBECCA WYTHAN 

The earl was looked for at the chief office of the mines, 
and each day an expectation of him closed in disappoint- 
ment, leaving it to be surmised that there were more 
serious reasons for his continued absence during a crisis 
than any discussed; whether indeed, as when a time- 
piece neglects to strike the hour which is, by the reckon- 
ing of natural impatience, past, the capital charge of 
'crazy works' must not be brought against a nobleman 
hitherto precise upon business, of a just disposition, 
fairly humane. For though he was an absentee sucking 
the earth through a tube, in Ottoman ease, he had never 
omitted the duty of personally attending on the spot 
to grave cases under dispute. The son of the hard- 
headed father came out at a crisis; and not too high- 
handedly: he could hear an opposite argument to the 
end. Therefore, since he refused to comply without 
hearing, he was wanted on the spot imperatively now. 

Irony perusing History offers the beaten and indolent 
a sugary acid in the indication of the spites and the 
pranks, the whims and the tastes, at the springs of 
main events. It is, taken by itself, destructive nourish- 
ment. But those who labour in the field to shovel the 



REBECCA WYTHAN 309 

clods of earth to History, would be wiser of their fellows 
for a minor dose of it. Mr. Howell Edwards consulting 
with Mr. Owain Wythan on the necessity, that the earl 
should instantly keep his promise to appear among the 
men and stop the fermentation, as in our younger days 
a lordly owner still might do by small concessions and 
the physical influence — the nerve-charm — could suppose 
him to be holding aloof for his pleasure or his pride; 
perhaps because of illness or inability to conceive the 
actual situation at a distance. He mentioned the 
presence of the countess, and Mr. Wythan mentioned it, 
neither of them thinking a rational man would so play the 
lunatic as to let men starve, and wreck precious mines, 
for the sake of avoiding her. 

Sullen days went by. On these days of the- slate- 
cloud or the leaden-winged, Carinthia walked over the 
hills to her staring or down-eyed silent people, ad- 
mitted without a welcome at some doors, rejected at some. 
Her baskets from the castle were for the most part re- 
ceived as graciously. She continued to direct them 
for delivery where they were needed, and understood 
why a charity that supplied the place of justice was 
not thanked. She and her people here were one regard- 
ing the master, as she had said. They could not hurt 
her sensitiveness, she felt too warmly with them. And 
here it was not the squalid, flat, bricked east-corner of 
London at the close of her daily pilgrimage. Up from 
the solitary street of the slate-roofs, she mounted a 
big hill and had the life of high breathing. A perpetual 
escape out of the smoky, grimy city mazes was trumpeted 
to her in the winds up there: a recollected contrast 
lightened the skyless broad spaces overhead almost to 
sunniness. Having air of the hills and activity for her 
limbs, she made sunshine for herself. Regrets were at 
ijo time her nestlings. 



310 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Look backward only to correct an error of conduct for 
the next attempt, says one of her father's Maxims; as 
sharply bracing for women as for men. She did not 
look back to moan. Now that her hunger for the safety 
of her infant was momentarily quieted, she could see 
Kit Ines hanging about the lower ground, near the ale- 
house, and smile at Madge's comparison of him to a 
drummed-out soldier, who would like to be taken for a 
hoHday pensioner. 

He saluted; under the suspicion of his patron's lady 
his legs were hampered, he dared not approach her; 
though his innocence of a deed not proposed to him 
yet — and all to stock that girl Madge's shop, if done ! — 
knocked at his ribs with fury to vindicate himself before 
the lady and her maid. A gentleman met them and 
conducted them across the hills. 

And two Taffy gentlemen would hardly be sufficient 
for the purpose, supposing an ill-used' Englishman in- 
clined to block their way ! — What, and play footpad. Kit 
Ines? No, it's just a game in the head. But a true 
man hates to feel himself suspected. His refuge is the 
beer of the country. 

Next day there were the two gentlemen to conduct 
the lady and her maid ; and Taffy the first walks beside 
the countess; and that girl Madge trudges along with 
no other than my lord's Mr. Woodseer, chattering like 
a watering-can on a garden-bed : deuce a glance at Kit 
Ines. How can she keep it up and the gentleman no 
more than nodding? How does he enjoy playing 
second fiddle with the maid while Mr. tall brown-face 
Taffy violins it to her ladyship a stone's throw in front ? 
— Ines had less curiosity to know the object of Mr. 
Woodseer's appearance on the scene. Idle, unhand- 
somely treated, and a cave of the yawns, he merely 
commented on his observations. 



REBECCA WYTHAN 311 

'Yes, there he is, don't look at him,' Madge said to 
Gower ; ' and whatever he 's here for, he has a bad 
time of it, and rather more than it 's pleasant for him 
to think over, if a slave to a "paytron" thinks at all. 
I won't judge him; my mistress is bitten with the fear 
for the child, worse than ever. And the earl, my lord, 
not coming, and he wanting her to move again, seems to 
her he durstn't do it here and intends to snap at the child 
on the road. She 's forced to beheve anything of such 
a husband and father. And why does he behave so? 
I can't spell it. He 's kind to my Sally — you 've seen 
the Piccadilly shop? — ^because she was . . . she did 
her best in love and duty for my lady. And behaves 
like a husband hating his wife's life on earth! TMien 
he went down with good Mr. Woodseer, and called on 
Sally, pretending to inquire, after she was kidnapped 
by that Kit Ines acting to please his paytron, he must be 
shown up to the room where she slept, and stands at the 
door and peeps in, Sally's letter says, and asks if he may 
enter the room. He went to the window looking on the 
chimneys she used to see, and touched an ornament over 
the fireplace, called grandfather's pigtail case — he was 
a sailor ; only a ridiculous piece of china, that made my 
lady laugh about the story of its holding a pigtail. But 
he turns it over because she did — Sally told him. He 
couldn't be pretending when he bought the beautiful 
shop and stocked it for Sally. He gets her lots of cus- 
tomers ; and no rent to pay till next Michaelmas a year. 
She 's a made woman through him. He said to her, he 
had heard from Mr. Woodseer the Countess of Fleetwood 
called her sister; he shook her hand.' 

'The Countess of Fleetwood called both of you her 
sisters, I think,' said Gower. 

'I 'm her servant. I 'd rather serve her than have a 
fortune.' 



312 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'You were bom with a fortune one would like to have 
a nibble at, Madge.' 

'I can't lay hand on it, then.' 

' It 's the capacity for giving, my dear.' 

' Please, Mr. Gower, don't say that ; you '11 make me 
cry. He keeps his wife so poor she hasn't a shilling 
of her own; she wearies about her brother; she can't 
help. He can spend hundreds on my Sally for having 
been good to her, in our small way — it 's a fairy tale ; 
and he won't hear of money for his wife, except that 
she 's never to want for anything it can buy.' 

'You give what it can't buy.' 

'Me. I'm "a pugilist's wench" — I've heard myself 
called. She was the first who gave me a lift; never 
mind me. Have you come to take her away ? She 'd 
trust herself and the child to you.' 

'Take her? — reason with her as to the best we can 
do. He holds off from a meeting just now. I fancy 
he 's wearing round to it. His keeping his wife with- 
out money passes comprehension. After serving him 
for a few months, I had a store invested to support me 
for years — as much as I need before I join the ranks 
of the pen. I was at my reading and writing and drows- 
ing, and down he rushes : I 'm in harness again. I 
can't say it 's dead waste of time ; besides I pick up an 
independence for the days ahead. But I don't respect 
myself for doing the work. Here 's the difference 
between us two servants, Madge : I think of myself, and 
you don't.' 

'The difference is more like between the master and 
mistress we serve, Mr. Gower.' 

' Well, I 'd rather be the woman in this case.' 

' You know the reputation I 've got. And can only 
just read, and can't spell. My mistress teaches me bits 
of German and French on her walks.' 



REBECCA WYTHAN 313 

Gower took a new observation of this girl, whom 
he had not regarded as like himself, a pushing blade 
among the grasses. He proposed to continue her 
lessons, if she cared to learn; saying it could be done 
in letters. 

'I won't be ashamed of writing, if you mean it,' said 
she. 'My mistress will have a usefuUer servant. She 
had a strange honeymoon of a marriage, if ever was : 
and told me t' other day she was glad because it brought 
us together — she a born lady!' 

' A fling above born ladies. She 's quick as light to 
hit on a jewel where there is one, whether it shines or 
not. She stands among the Verities of the world.' 

'Yes,' Madge said, panting for more. 'Do speak of 
her. When you praise her, I feel she 's not wasted. 
Mistress ; and friend and wife — if he 'd let her be ; and 
mother ; never mother like her. The boy '11 be a sturdy. 
She '11 see he has every chance. He 's a lucky little one 
to have that mother.' 

'You think her handsome, Madge?' 

Gower asked it, wishing to hear a devotee's confusion 
of qualities and looks. 

The question was a drop on lower spheres, and it 
required definitions, to touch the exact nature of the 
form of beauty, and excuse a cooler tone on the com- 
moner plane. These demanded language. She rounded 
the difficulty, saying: 'You see engravings of archery; 
that 's her figure — her real figure. I think her face 
... I can't describe ... it flashes.' 

'That 's it,' said Gower, delighted with his perception 
of a bare mind at work and hitting the mark perforce 
of warmth. ' When it flashes, it 's unequalled. There 's 
the supremacy of irregular lines. People talk of perfect 
beauty: suitable for paintings and statues. Living 
faces, if they 're to show the soul, which is the star on 



314 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the peak of beauty, must lend themselves to commotion. 
Nature does it in a breezy tree or over ruffled waters. 
Repose has never such splendid reach as animation — I 
mean, in the living face. Artists prefer repose. Only 
Nature can express the uttermost beauty with her gather- 
ing and tuning of discords. Well, your mistress has that 
beauty. I remember my impression when I saw her 
first on her mountains abroad. Other beautiful faces of 
women go pale, grow stale. The diversified in the har- 
mony of the flash are Nature's own, her radiant, made 
of her many notes, beyond our dreams to reproduce. 
We can't hope to have a true portrait of your mistress. 
Does Madge understand?' 

The literary dose was a strong one for her; but she 
saw the index, and got a lift from the sound. Her 
bosom heaved. 'Oh, I do try, Mr. Gower. I think 
I do a little. I do more while you 're talking. You 
are good to talk so to me. You should have seen her 
the night she went to meet my lord at those beastly 
Gardens Kit Ines told me he was going to. She was 
defending him. I 've no words. You teach me what 's 
meant by poetry. I couldn't understand that once.' 

Their eyes were on the countess and her escort in 
advance. Gower's praises of her mistress's peculiar 
beauty set the girl compassionately musing. His elo- 
quence upon the beauty was her clue. 

Carinthia and Mr. Wythan started at a sharp trot 
in the direction of the pair of ponies driven by a groom 
along the curved decline of the narrow roadway. His 
whip was up for signal. 

It concerned the house and the master of it. His 
groom drove rapidly down, while he hurried on the 
homeward way, as a man will do, with the dread upon 
him that his wife's last breath may have been yielded 
before he can enfold her. 



REBECCA WYTHAN 315 

Carinthia walked to be overtaken, not daring to fever 
her blood at a swifter pace; 'lamed with an infant/ 
the thought recurred. 

'She is very ill, she has fainted, she lies insensible,' 
Madge heard from her of Mrs. Wythan. 'We .were 
speaking of her when the groom appeared. It has 
happened twice. They fear the third. He fears it, 
though he laughs at a superstition. Now step, I know 
you like walking, Mr. Woodseer. Once I left you 
behind.' 

'I have the whole scene of the angel and the cripple,' 
Gower replied. 

'0 that day!' 

They were soon speculating on the unimpressionable 
house in its clump of wood midway below, which had 
no response for anxieties. 

A maid-servant at the garden gate, by Mr. Wythan's 
orders, informed Carinthia that her mistress had opened 
her eyes. There was a hope of weathering the ominous 
third time. But the hope was a bird of short flight 
from bush to bush until the doctor should speak to 
confirm it. Even the child was under the shadow of the 
house. Carinthia had him in her arms, trusting to life 
as she hugged him, and seeing innumerable darts out of 
all regions assailing her treasure. 

'She wishes to have you,' Mr. Wythan came and said 
to her. 'Almost her first word. The heart is quicken- 
ing. She wDl live for me if she can.' 

He whispered it. His features shot the sparkle. 

Rebecca Wythan had strength to press Carinthia's 
hand faintly. She made herself heard : ' No pain.' 
Her husband sat upright, quite still, attentive for any 
sign. His look of quiet pleasure ready to show spright- 
liness dwelt on her. She returned the look, unable to 
give it greeting. Past the sense of humour, she wanted 



316 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

to say : ' See the poor simple fellow who will think it a 
wife that he has V She did but look. 

Carinthia spoke his name, 'Mr. Wythan,' by chance, 
and Rebecca breathed heavily until she formed the 
words : 'Owain to me.' 

'To me,' Owain added. 

The three formed a chain of clasped hands. 

It was in the mind of the sick lady to disburden her- 
self of more than her weakness could utter, so far was 
she above earthly links. The desire in her was to be 
quit of the flesh, bearing a picture of her husband as 
having the dues of his merits. 

Her recovered strength next day brought her nearer 
to our laws. 'You will call him Owain, Carinthia?' 
she said. 'He is not one to presume on familiarity. 
I must be going soon. I cannot leave him the wife I 
would choose. I can leave him the sister. He is a sure 
friend. He is the knightly man women dream of. I 
harp on it because I long for testimony that I leave 
him to have some reward. And this may be, between 
two so pure at heart as you two.' 

' Dear soul ! friend, yes, and Owain, yes, I can say 
it,' Carinthia rejoined. 'Brother? I have only my 
Chillon. My life is now for him. I am punished for 
separating myself from the son of my father. I have no 
heart for a second brother. What I can give to my friend 
I will. I shall love you in him, if I am to lose you.' 

'Not Owain — ^it was I was the wretch refused to call 
on the lonely lady at the castle until I heard she had 
done a romantic little bit of thing — hushed a lambkin's 
bleating. My loss ! my loss ! And I could afford it so 
poorly. Since then Carinthia has filled my days. I 
shudder to leave you and think of your going back to 
the English. Their sneer withers. They sent you 
down among us as a young woman to be shunned.' 



REBECCA WYTHAN 317 

'I did wildly, I was ungoverned, I had one idea/ said 
Carinthia. ' One idea is a bullet, good for the day of battle 
to beat the foe, father tells us. It was a madness in me. 
Now it has gone, I see all round. I see straight, too. 
With one idea, we see nothing — nothing but itself. 
Whizz ! we go. I did. I shall no longer offend in that 
way. Mr. Gower Woodseer is here from my lord.' 

' With him the child will be safe.' 

'I am not alarmed. It is to request — they would 
have me gone, to prepare the way for my lord.' 

'You have done it; he has the castle to himself. 
I cannot spare you. A tyrant ordering you to go should 
be defied. My Lord Fleetwood puts lightning into my 
slow veins.' 

' We have talked : we shall be reproved by the husband 
and the doctor,' said Carinthia. 

Sullen days continued and rolled over to night at the 
mines. Gower's mission was rendered absurd by the 
countess's withdrawal from the castle. He spoke of it 
to Mr. Wythan once, and the latter took a big breath 
and blew such a lord to the winds. 'Persuade our 
guest to leave us, that the air may not be tainted for 
her husband when he comes ? He needn't call ; he 's 
not obliged to see her. She 's offered Esslemont to live 
in? I believe her instinct's right — he has designs on 
the child. A little more and we shall have a mad dog 
in the fellow. He doubles my work by keeping his men 
out. If she were away we should hear of black doings. 
Twenty dozen of his pugilists wouldn't stop the burning.' 

They agreed that persuasions need not be addressed 
to the countess. She was and would remain Mr. Wythan's 
guest. As for the earl, Gower inclined to plead hesi- 
tatingly, still to plead, on behalf of a nobleman owning 
his influence and very susceptible to his wisdom, whose 
echo of a pointed saying nearly equalled the satisfaction 



318 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

bestowed by print. The titled man affected the philos- 
opher in that manner ; or rather, the crude philosopher's 
relish of brilliant appreciation stripped him of his robe. 
For he was with Owain Wythan at heart to scorn titles 
which did not distinguish practical offices. A nation 
bowing to them has gone to pith, for him; he had to 
shake himself, that he might not similarly stick; he 
had to do it often. Objects elevated even by a decayed 
world have their magnetism for us unless we nerve the 
mind to wakeful repulsion. He protested he had reason 
to think the earl was humanizing, though he might be 
killing a woman in the process. 'Could she wish for 
better?' he asked, with at least the gravity of the under- 
mining humourist; and he started' Owain to course an 
idea when he remarked of Lord Fleetwood : ' Imagine 
a devil on his back on a river, flying a cherub.' 

Owain sparkled from the vision of the thing to wrath 
with it. 

'Ay, but while he 's floating, his people are edging 
on starvation. And I 've a personal grievance. I keep, 
you know, open hall, bread and cheese and beer, for 
poor mates. His men are favouring us with a call. 
We have to cart treble from the town. If I straighten 
the sticks he tries to bend, it '11 be a grievance against 
me — and a fig for it ! But I like to be at peace with 
my neighbours, and waft them penillion instead of dealing 
the cleddyfal of Llewellyn.' 

At last the tension ceased; they had intelligence of 
the earl's arrival. 

His countess was little moved by it; and the reason 
for that lay in her imagination being absorbed. Hen- 
rietta had posted her a journal telling of a deed of 
Chillon's: no great feat, but precious for its 'likeness 
to him,' as they phrased it; that is, for the light it 
cast on their conception of the man. Heading a 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 319 

squadron in a riotous Midland town, he stopped a charge, 
after fire of a shot from the mob, and galloped up the 
street to catch a staggering urchin to his saddle-bow, 
and place the mite in safety. Then it was a simple trot 
of the hussars ahead ; way was made for him. 

Now, to see what banquet there is for the big of heart 
in the world's hot stress, take the view of Carinthia, 
to whom her brother's thoughtful little act of gentleness 
at the moment of the red-of-the-powder smoke was 
divinest bread and wine, when calamity hung around, 
with the future an unfooted wilderness, her powers untried, 
her husband her enemy. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

WE HAVE AGAIN TO DEAL WITH THE EXAMPLES OF OUR 
YOUNGEB MAN 

The most urgent of Dames is working herself up to 
a grey squall in her detestation of imagerial epigrams. 
Otherwise Gower Woodseer's dash at the quintessential 
young man of wealth would prompt to the carrying of 
it further, and telling how the tethered flutterer above 
a 'devil on his back on a river' was beginning to pull 
if not drag his withholder and teaser. 

Fleetwood had almost a desire to see the small dot 
of humanity which drew the breath from him; — and 
was indistinguishably the bubbly grin and gurgle of 
the nurses, he could swear. He kicked at the bondage 
to our common fleshly nature imposed on him by the 
mother of the little animal. But there had been a 
mother to his father: odd movements of a warmish 
curiosity brushed him when the cynic was not mount- 
ing guard. They were, it seemed, external — no part of 



320 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

him : like blasts of a wayside furnace across wintry air. 
They were, as it chanced, Nature's woman in him pluck- 
ing at her separated partner, Custom's man; something 
of an oriental voluptuary on his isolated regal seat ; and 
he would suck the pleasures without a descent into the 
stale old ruts where Life's convict couple walk linked 
to one another, to their issue more. 

There was also a cold curiosity to see the male infant 
such a mother would have. The grandson of Old Law- 
less might turn out a rascal, — ^he would be no mean one, 
no coward. 

That mother, too, who must have been a touch aston- 
ished to find herself a mother : — Fleetwood laughed a 
curt bark, and heard rebukes, and pleaded the marriage- 
trap to the man of his word; devil and cherub were at 
the tug, or say, dog and gentleman, a survival of the 
schoolboy : — that mother, a girl of the mountains, per- 
haps wanted no more than smoothing by the world. 
'It is my husband' sounded foolish, sounded freshish, 
— a new note. Would she repeat it? The bit of sim- 
plicity would bear repeating once. Gower Woodseer 
says the creature grows and studies to perfect herself. 
She 's a good way off that, and may spoil herself in the 
process; but she has a certain power. Her donkey 
obstinacy in refusing compliance, and her pursuit of 
'my husband,' and ability to drench him with ridicule, 
do not exhibit the ordinary young female. She stamps 
her impression on the people she meets. Her husband 
is shaken to confess it likewise, despite a disagreement 
between them. 

He has owned he is her husband: he has not dis- 
avowed the consequence. That fellow, Gower Wood- 
seer, might accuse the husband of virtually lying, if 
he by his conduct implied her distastefulness or worse. 
By heaven ! as felon a deed as could be done. Argue 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 321 

the case anyhow, it should be undone. Let her but 
cease to madden. For whatever the rawness of the 
woman, she has qualities; and experience of the facile 
loves of London very sharply defines her qualities. 
Think of her as raw, she has the gift of rareness : forget 
the donkey obstinacy, her character grasps. In the 
grasp of her character, one inclines, and her husband 
inclines, to become her advocate. She has only to 
discontinue maddening. 

The wealthy young noble prized any form of rare- 
ness wherever it was visible, having no thought of the 
purchase of it, except with worship. He could listen 
pleased to the talk of a Methodist minister sewing boot- 
leather. He picked up a roadside tramp and made a 
friend of him, and valued the fellow's honesty, sub- 
mitted to his lectures, pardoned his insolence. The 
sight of Carinthia's narrow bedroom and strip of bed 
over Sarah Winch's Whitechapel shop had gone a step 
to drown the bobbing Whitechapel Countess. At least, 
he had not been hun-ted by that gaunt chalk-quarry 
ghost since his peep into the room. Own it ! she like- 
wise has things to forgive. Women nurse their larvae 
of ideas about fair dealing. But observe the distinc- 
tion : and if women understood justice they would be 
the first to proclaim, that when two are tied together, 
the one who does the other serious injury is more natu- 
rally excused than the one who — ^tenfold abhorrent if a 
woman ! — calls up the grotesque to extinguish both. 

With this apology for himself. Lord Fleetwood grew 
tolerant of the person honourably avowed as his wife. 
So, therefore, the barrier between him and his thoughts 
of her was broken. The thoughts carrying red roses 
were selected. Finally, the taste to meet her sprouted. 
If agreeable, she could be wooed; if barely agreeable, 
tormented ; if disagreeable, left as before. 



322 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Although it was the hazard of a die, he decided to 
follow his taste. Her stay at the castle had kept him 
long from the duties of his business; and he could 
imagine it a grievance if he pleased, but he put it aside. 

Alighting at his chief manager's office, he passed 
through the heated atmosphere of black-browed, wiry- 
little rebels, who withheld the salute as they lounged: 
a posture often preceding the spring in compulsorily 
idle workers. He was aware of instinct abroad, an an- 
tagonism to the proprietor's rights. They roused him 
to stand by them, and were his own form of instinct, 
handsomely clothed. It behoved that he should examine 
them and the claims against them, to be sure of his 
ground. He and Mr. Howell Edwards debated the 
dispute for an hour ; agreeing, partially differing. There 
was a weakness on the principle in Edwards. These 
fellows fixed to the spot are for compromise too much. 
An owner of mines has no steady reckoning of income 
if the rate of wage is perpetually to shift according to 
current, mostly ignorant, versions of the prosperity 
of the times. Are we so prosperous? It is far from 
certain. And if the rate ascends, the question of easing 
it down to suit the discontinuance of prosperity agitating 
our exchequer — whose demand is for fixity — ^perplexes 
us further. 

However, that was preliminary. He and Howell 
Edwards would dine and wrangle it out. The earl knew 
himself a hot disputant after dinner. Incidentally he 
heard of Lady Fleetwood as a guest of Mrs. Wythan; 
and the circumstance was injurious to him because he 
stood against Mr. Wythan's pampering system with his 
men. 

Ines up at the castle smelt of beer, and his eyelids 
were sottish. Nothing to do tries the virtue of the 
best. He sought his excuse in a heavy lamentation 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 323 

over my lady's unjust suspicion of him, — a known man 
of honour, though he did serve his paytron. 

The cause of Lady Fleetwood's absence was exposed 
to her outraged lord, who had sent the man purely to 
protect her at this castle, where she insisted on staying. 
The suspicion cast on the dreary lusher was the wife's 
wild shot at her husband. One could understand a 
silly woman's passing terror. Her acting under the 
dictate of it struck the husband's ribbed breast as a 
positive clap of hostilities between them across a chasm. 

His previous placable mood was immediately con- 
ceived by him to have been one of his fits of generosity ; 
a step to a frightful dutiful embrace of an almost re- 
pulsive object. He flung the thought of her back on 
her Whitechapel. She returned from that place with 
smiles, dressed in a laundry white with a sprinkle of 
smuts, appearing to him as an adversary armed and 
able to strike. There was a blow, for he chewed resent- 
ments; and these were goaded by a remembered shy- 
ness of meeting her eyes when he rounded up the slope 
of the hill, in view of his castle, where he supposed she 
would be awaiting 'my husband.' The silence of her 
absence was lively mockery of that anticipation. 

Gower came on him sauntering about the grounds. 

' You 're not very successful down here,' Fleetwood 
said, without greeting. 

'The countess likes the air of this country,' said 
Gower, evasively, impertinently, and pointlessly ; offen- 
sively to the despot employing him to be either sub- 
servient or smart. 

'I wish her to leave it.' 

'She wishes to see you first.' 

'She takes queer measures. I start to-morrow for 
my yacht at Cardiff.' 
.There the matter ended ; for Fleetwood fell to talking 



324 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of the mines. At dinner and after dinner it was the topic, 
and after Howell Edwards had departed. 

When the man who has a heart will talk of nothing 
but what concerns his interests, and the heart is hurt, it 
may be perceived by a cognizant friend, that this is his 
proud mute way of petitioning to have the tenderer 
subject broached. Gower was sure of the heart, armoured 
or bandaged though it was, — a haunt of evil spirits as 
well, — and he began : ' Now to speak of me half a minute. 
You cajoled me out of my Surrey room, where I was 
writing, in the vein . . .' 

'I 've had the scene before me!' the earl interposed. 
'Juniper dells and that tree of the flashing leaf, and 
that dear old boy, your father, young as you and me, 
and saying love of Nature gives us eternal youth. On 
with you.' 

'I doubted whether I should be of use to you. I told 
you the amount of alloy in my motives. A year with 
you, I have subsistence for ten years assured to me.' 

'Don't be a prosy dog, Gower Woodseer.' 

'Will you come over to the Wythans before you go?' 

'I will not.' 

'You would lengthen your stride across a wounded 
beast?' 

' I see no wound to the beast.' 

'You can permit yourself to kick under cover of a 
metaphor.' 

'Tell me what you drive at, Gower.' 

'The request is, for you to spare pain by taking one 
step — an extra strain on the muscles of the leg. It 's 
only the leg wants moving.' 

'The lady has legs to run away, let them bring her 
'back.' 

'Why have me with you, then? I'm useless. But 
you read us all, see everything, and wait only for the 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 325 

mood to do the right. You read me, and I 'm not 
open to everybody. You read the crux of a man like 
me in my novel position. You read my admiration of 
a beautiful woman and effort to keep honest. You 
read my downright preference of what most people 
would call poverty, and my enjoyment of good cookery 
and good company. You enlist among the crew below 
as one of our tempters. You find I come round to the 
thing I like best. Therefore, you have your liking 
for me; and that 's why you turn to me again, after 
your natural infidelities. So much for me. You read 
this priceless lady quite as clearly. You choose to cloud 
her with your moods. She was at a disadvantage, arriv- 
ing in a strange country, next to friendless ; and each new 
incident bred of a luckless beginning — I could say more.' 

Fleetwood nodded. 'You are read without the words. 
You read in history, too, I suppose, that there are two 
sides to most cases. The loudest is not often the strong- 
est. However, now the lady shows herself crazed. 
That 's reading her charitably. Else she has to be taken, 
for a spiteful shrew, who pretends to suspect anything 
that 's villanous, because she can hit on no other way 
of striking.' 

'Crazed, is a wide shot and hits half the world,' mut- 
tered Gower. 'Lady Fleetwood had a troubled period 
after her marriage. She suffered a sort of kidnapping 
when she was bearing her child. There 's a book by 
an Edinburgh doctor might be serviceable to you. It 
enlightens me. She will have a distrust of you, as 
regards the child, until she understands you by living 
with you under one roof.' 

'Such animals these women are! Good Lord!' 
Fleetwood ejaculated. 'I marry one, and I 'm to take 
to reading medical books !' He yawned. 
,' You speak that of women and pretend to love Nature,' 



326 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

said Gower. 'You hate Nature unless you have it 
served on a dish by your own cook. That 's the way 
to the madhouse or the monastery. There we expiate 
the sin of sins. A man finds the woman of all women 
fitted to stick him in the soil, and trim and point him 
to grow, and she 's an animal for her pains ! The secret 
of your malady is, you've not yet, though you're on a 
healthy leap for the practices of Nature, hopped to the 
primary conception of what Nature means. Women 
are in and of Nature. I 've studied them here — had 
nothing to do but study them. That most noble of 
ladies' whole mind was knotted to preserve her child 
during her time of endurance up to her moment of trial. 
Think it over. It 's your one chance of keeping sane. 
And expect to hear flat stuff from me while you go on 
playing tyrant.' 

'You certainly take liberties,' Fleetwood's mildest 
voice remarked. 

'I told you I should try you, when you plucked me 
out of my Surrey nest.' 

Fleetwood passed from a meditative look to a malicious 
half-laugh. 'You seem to have studied the "most noble 
of ladies" latterly rather like a barrister with a brief 
for the defendant — ^plaintiff, if you like !' 

'As to that, I '11 help you to an insight of a particular 
weakness of mine,' said Gower. 'I require to have 
persons of even the highest value presented to me on 
a stage, or else I don't grasp them at all — they 're simply 
pictures. I saw the lady; admired, esteemed, suffi- 
ciently, I supposed, until her image appeared to me in 
the feelings of another. Then I saw fathoms. No 
doubt, it was from feeling warmer. I went through 
the blood of the other for my impression.' 

'Name the other,' said the earl, and his features 
were sharp. 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 327 

'You can have the name,' Gower answered. 'It was 
the girl, Madge Winch.' 

Fleetwood's hard stare melted to surprise and con- 
temptuous amusement. 'You see the lady to be the 
"most noble of ladies" through the warming you get 
by passing into the feelings of Madge Winch ? ' 

Sarcasm was in the tone, and beneath it a thrill of 
compassionateness traversed him and shot a remorseful 
sting with the vision of those two young women on the 
coach at the scene of the fight. He had sentience of 
their voices, nigh to hearing them. The forlorn bride's 
hand given to the anxious girl behind her flushed an 
image of the sisterhood binding women under the pangs 
they suffer from men. He craved a scourging that he 
might not be cursing himself; and he provoked it, for 
Gower was very sensitive to a cold breath on the weak- 
ness he had laid bare; and when Fleetwood said : 'You 
recommend a bath in the feelings of Madge Winch?' 
the retort came: 'It might stop you on the road to a 
cowl.' 

Fleetwood put on the mask of cogitation to cover a 
shudder, 'How?' 

'A question of the man or the monk with you, as I 
fancy I 've told you more than once !' 

'You may fancy committing any impertinence and 
be not much out.' 

' The saving of you is that you digest it when you 've 
stewed it down.' 

'You try me!' 

'I don't impose the connection.' 

' No, I take the blame for that.' 

They sat in dumbness, fidgeted, sprang to their feet, 
and lighted bedroom candles. 

Mounting the stairs, Gower was moved to let fall a 
Jsenevolent look on the worried son of fortune. 'I 



328 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

warned you I should try you. It ought to be done 
politely. If I have to speak a truth I 'm boorish. The 
divinely damnable naked truth won't wear ornaments. 
It 's about the same as pitching a handful of earth.' 

' You dirt your hands, hit or miss. Out of this corridor ! 
Into my room, and spout your worst,' cried the earl. 

Gower entered his dressing-room and was bidden to 
smoke there. 

' You 're a milder boor when you smoke. That day 
down in Surrey with the grand old bootmaker was one 
of our days, Gower Woodseer ! There 's no smell of 
the boor in him. Perhaps his religion helps him, more 
than Nature- worship : not the best for manners. You 
won't smoke your pipe ? — a cigar ? Lay on, then, as 
hard as you like.' 

'You 're asking for the debauchee's last luxury — not 
a correction,' said Gower, grimly thinking of how his. 
whip might prove effective and punish the man who 
kept him fruitlessly out of his bed. 

'I want stuff for a place in the memory,' said Fleet- 
wood ; and the late hour, with the profitless talk, made 
it a stinging taunt. 

'You want me to flick your indecision.' 

'That 's half a hit.' 

' I 'm to talk italics, for you to store a smart word 
or so.' 

'True, I swear! And, please, begin.' 

' You hang for the Fates to settle which is to be 
smothered in you, the man or the lord — and it ends in 
the monk, if you hang 'much longer.' 

'A bit of a scorpion in his intention,' Fleetwood 
muttered on a stride. ' I '11 tell you this, Gower Wood- 
seer; when you lay on in earnest, your diction is not 
so choice. Do any of your remarks apply to Lady 
Fleetwood?' 



EXAMPLES OF OUR YOUNGER MAN 329 

'All should. I don't presume to allude to Lady 
Fleetwood.' 

' She has not charged you to complain ? ' 
'Lady Fleetwood is not the person to complain or 
condescend to speak of injuries.' 

'She insults me with her insane suspicion.' 
A swollen vein on the young nobleman's forehead 
went to confirm the idea at the Wythans' that he was 
capable of mischief. They were right ; he was as capable 
of villany as of nobility. But he happened to be thank- 
ing Gower Woodseer's whip for the comfortable numb- 
ness he felt at Carinthia's behaviour, while detesting 
her for causing him to desire it and endure it, and 
exonerate his prosy castigator. 

He was ignorant of the revenge he had on Gower, 
whose diction had not been particularly estimable. 
In the feebleness of a man vainly courting sleep, the 
disarmed philosopher tossed from one side to the other 
through the remaining hours of darkness, polishing 
sentences that were natural spouts of choicest diction; 
and still the earl's virulent small sneer rankled. He 
understood why, after a time. The fervour of advocacy, 
which inspires high diction, had been wanting. He had 
sought more to lash the earl with his personal disgust 
— and partly to parade his contempt of a lucrative 
dependency — than he had felt for the countess. No 
wonder his diction was poor. It was a sample of limp 
thinness ; a sort of tongue of a Master Slender : — flavour- 
less, unsatisfactory, considering its object : measured 
to be condemned by its poor achievement. He had 
nevertheless a heart to feel for the dear lady, and heat 
the pleading for her, especially when it ran to its object, 
as along a shaft of the sun-rays, from the passionate 
devotedness of that girl Madge. 
, He brooded over it till it was like a fire beneath him 



330 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

to drive him from his bed and across the turfy roller of the 
hill to the Wythans', in the front of an autumnal sunrise 
— grand where the country is shorn of surface decoration, 
as here and there we find some unadorned human creature, 
whose bosom bears the ball of warmth. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

IN WHICH WE SEE CAEINTHIA PUT IN PRACTICE ONE 
OF HER OLD FATHER'S LESSONS 

Seated at his breakfast-table, the earl saw Gower 
stride in, and could have wagered he knew the destina- 
tion of the fellow's morning walk. It concerned him 
little; he would be leaving the castle in less than an 
hour. She might choose to come or choose to keep 
away. The whims of animals do not affect men unless 
they are professionally tamers. Petty domestic dissen- 
sions are besides poor webs to the man pulling single- 
handed at ropes with his revolted miners. On the topic 
of wages, too, he was Gower's master, and could hold 
forth : by which he taught himself to feel that practical 
affairs are the proper business of men, women and in- 
fants being remotely secondary; the picturesque and 
poetry, consequently, sheer nonsense. 

'I suppose your waiting here is useless, to quote you,' 
he said. 'The countess can decide now to remain, if 
she pleases. Drive with me to Cardiff — I miss you if 
you 're absent a week. Or is it legs ? Drop me a 
line of your stages on the road, and don't loiter 
much.' 

Gower spoke of starting his legs next day, if he had 
to do the journey alone : and he clouded the yacht for 



CARINTHIA PRACTISES FATHER'S LESSON 331 

Fleetwood with talk of the Wye and the Usk, Hereford 
and the Malvern Hills elliptical over the plains. 

'Yes/ the earl acquiesced jealously; 'we ought to 
have seen — tramped every foot of our own country. 
That yacht of mine, there she is, and I said I would 
board her and have a fly with half a dozen fellows round 
the Scottish isles. We 're never free to do as we like.' 

' Legs are the only things that have a taste of freedom,' 
said Gower. 

They strolled down to Howell Edwards' office at 
nine, Kit Ines beside the luggage cart to the rear. 

Around the office and along to the street of the cottages 
crowds were chattering, gesticulating; Ines fancied the 
foreign jabberers inclined to threaten. Howell Edwards 
at the door of his office watched them calculatingly. 
The lord of their destinies passed in with him, leaving 
Gower to study the features of the men, and Ines to reckon 
the chance of a fray. 

Fleetwood came out presently, sajdng to Edwards: 
'That concession goes far enough. Because I have a 
neighbour who yields at every step? No, stick to the 
principle. I 've said my final word. And here 's the 
carriage. If the mines are closed, more 's the pity : but 
I 'm not responsible. You can let them know if you like, 
before I drive off ; it doesn't matter to me.' 

The carriage was ready. Gower cast a glance up 
the hill. Three female figures and a pannier-donkey 
were visible on the descent. He nodded to Edwards, 
who took the words out of his mouth. 'Her ladyship, 
my lord.' 

She was distinctly seen, and looked formidable in 
definition against the cloud. Madge and the nurse-maid 
Martha were the two other young women. On they 
came, and the angry man seated in the carriage could 
not give the order to start. Nor could he quite shape 



332 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

an idea of annoyance, though he hung to it and faced 
at Gower a battery of the promise to pay him for this. 
Tattling observers were estimated at their small import- 
ance there, as everywhere, by one. so high above them. 
But the appearance of the woman of the burlesque name 
and burlesque actions, and odd ascension out of the 
ludicrous into a form to cast a spell, so that she com- 
manded serious recollections of her, disturbed him. 
He stepped from his carriage. Again he had his incom- 
prehensible fit of shyness; and a vision of the com- 
placent, jowled, redundant, blue-coated monarch aswing 
in imbecile merriment on the signboard of the Royal 
Sovereign inn; constitutionally his total opposite, yet 
instigating the sensation. 

In that respect his countess and he had shifted char- 
acters. Carinthia came on at her bold mountain stride 
to within hail of him. Met by Gower, she talked, smiled, 
patted her donkey, clutched his ear, lifted a silken 
covering to show the child asleep; entirely at her ease 
and unhurried. These women get an aid from their pride 
of maternity. And when they can boast a parson behind 
them, they are indecorous up to insolent in their osten- 
tation of it. 

She resumed her advance, with a slight abatement 
of her challengeing match, sedately; very collectedly 
erect; changed in the fulness of her figure and her 
poised calm bearing. 

He heard her voice addressing Gower : ' Yes, they do ; 
we noticed the slate-roofs, looking down on them. They 
do look like a council of rooks in the hollow; a parlia- 
ment, you said.. They look exceedingly like, when a 
peep of sunshine falls. Oh, no, not clergymen!' 

She laughed at the suggestion. 

She might be one of the actresses by nature. 

Is the man unsympathetic with women a hater of 



CARINTHIA PRACTISES FATHER'S LESSON 333 

Nature deductively? Most women are actresses. As 
to worshipping Nature, we go back to the state of heathen 
beast, Mr. Philosopher Gower could be answered. . . . 

Fleetwood drew in his argument. She stood before 
him. There was on his part an insular representation 
of old French court salute to the lady, and she replied 
to it in the exactest measure, as if an instructed 
proficient. 

She stood unshadowed. 'We have come to bid 
you adieu, my lord,' she said, and no trouble of the 
bosom shook her mellow tones. Her face was not the 
chalk-quarry or the rosed rock ; it was oddly individual, 
and, in a way, alluring, with some gentle contraction 
of her eyelids. But evidently she stood in full repose, 
mistress of herself. 

Upon him, it appeared, the whole sensibility of the 
situation was to be thrown. He hardened. 

'We have had to settle business here,' he said, speak- 
ing resonantly, to cover his gazing discomposedly, all 
but furtively. 

The child was shown, still asleep. A cunning infant : 
not a cry in him to excuse a father for preferring con- 
cord or silence or the bachelor's exemption. 

'He is a strong boy,' the mother said. 'Our doctor 
promises he will ride over all the illnesses.' 

Fleetwood's answer set off with an alarum of the 
throat, and dwindled to 'We'll hope so. Seems to 
sleep well.' 

She had her rocky brows. They were not barren 
crags, and her shape was Nature's ripeness, itwas acknowl- 
edged. She stood like a lance in air — rather like an 
Amazon schooled by Athene, one might imagine. Hues 
of some going or coming flush hinted the magical trick 
of her visage. She spoke in modest manner, or it might 
be indifferently, without a flaunting of either. 



334 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'I wish to consult you, my lord. He is not baptized. 
His Christian names?' 

'I have no choice.' 

' I should wish him to bear one of my brother's names.' 

'I have no knowledge of your brother's names.' 

'Chillon is one.' 

'Ah ! Is it, should you think, suitable to our climate?' 

'Another name of my brother's is John.' 

' Bull.' The loutish derision passed her and rebounded 
on him. ' That would be quite at home.' 

' You will allow one of your own names, my lord ? ' 

'Oh, certainly, if you desire it, choose. There are 
four names you will find in a book of the Peerage or 
Directory or so. Up at the castle — or you might have 
written: — better than these questions on the public 
road. I don't demur. Let it be as you like.' 

'I write empty letters to tell what I much want,' 
Carinthia said. 

'You have only to write your plain request.' 

'If, now I see you, I may speak another request, my 
lord.' 

'Pray,' he said, with courteous patience, and stepped 
forward down to the street of the miners' cottages. 
She could there speak out — bawl the request, if it suited 
her to do so. 

On the point of speaking, she gazed round. 

' Perfectly safe ! no harm possible,' said he, fretful 
under the burden of this her maniacal maternal anxiety. 

'The men are all right, they would not hurt a child. 
What can rationally be suspected!' 

'I know the men; they love their children,' she 
replied. 'I think my child would be precious to them. 
Mr. Woodseer and Mr. Edwards and Madge are there.' 

'Is the one more request — I mean, a mother's anxiety 
does not run to the extent of suspecting everybody?' 



CARINTHIA PRACTISES FATHER'S LESSON 335 

'Some of the children are very pretty/ said Carinthia, 
and eyed the bands of them at their games in the road- 
way and at the cottage doors. 'Children of the poor 
have happy mothers.' 

Her eyes were homely, though they were so much a 
morning over her face. They were open now to what 
that fellow Woodseer (who could speak to the point 
when he was not aiming at it) called the parlour, or 
social sitting-room; where we may have converse with 
the tame woman's mind, seeing the door to the clawing 
recesses temporarily shut. 

'Forgive me if I say you talk like the bigger child,' 
Fleetwood said lightly, not ungenially; for the features 
he looked on were museful, a picture in their one ex- 
pression. 

Her answer chilled him. 'It is true, my lord. I will 
not detain you. I would beg to be supplied with money.' 

He was like the leaves of a frosted plant, in his crisp 
curling inward : — he had been so genial. 

'You have come to say good-bye, that you may have 
an opportunity to — as you put it — beg for money. I 
am not sure of your having learnt yet the right disposal 
of money.' 

'I beg, my lord, to have two thousand pounds a year 
allowed me.' 

'Ten — and it 's a task to spend the sum on a single 
household — shall be alloted to your expenditure at 
Esslemont; — stables, bills, et caetera. You can enter- 
tain. My steward Leddings will tmdertake the manage- 
ment. You will not be troubled with payings.' 

Her head acknowledged the graciousness. 'I would 
have two thousand pounds and live where I please.' 

'Pardon me: the two, for a lady living where she 
pleases, exceeds the required amount.' 

' I will accept a smaller sum, my lord.' 



336 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

' Money ! — it seems a singular demand when all 
supplies are furnished.' 

' I would have control of some money.' 

'You are thinking of charities.' 

'Not charities.' 

'Edwards here has a provision for the hospital needs 
of the people. Mr. Woodseer applies to me in cases 
he can certify. Leddings will do the same at Esslemont.' 

'I am glad, I am thankful. The money I would have 
is for my own use. It is for me.' 

'Ah. Scarcely that, I fancy.' 

The remark should have struck home. He had a 
thirst for the sign of her confessing to it. He looked. 
Something like a petrifaction of her wildest face was 
shown. 

Carinthia's eyes were hard out on a scattered knot of 
children down the street. 

She gathered up her skirts. Without a word to him, 
she ran, and running shouted to the little ones around 
and ahead: 'In! in! indoors, children! Blant, i'r ty ! 
Mothers, mothers, ho ! get them in. See the dog ! Ci ! 
a ! In with them ! Blant, i'r ty ! i'r ty !' 

A big black mongrel appeared worrying at one of two 
petticoated urchins on the ground. 

She scurried her swiftest, with such warning Welsh 
as she had on the top of her mountain cry; and doors 
flew wide, there was a bang of doors when she darted 
by : first gust of terrible heavens that she seemed to the 
cottagers. 

Other shouts behind her rent the air, gathering to a 
roar, from the breasts of men and women. 'Mad dog 
about' had been for days the rumour, crossing the hills 
over the line of village, hamlet, farm, from Cardiff port. 

Dead hush succeeded the burst. Men and women 
stood off. The brute was at the lady. 



CARINTHIA PRACTISES FATHER'S LESSON 337 

Her arms were straight above her head; her figure 
overhanging, on a bend of the knees. Right and left, 
the fury of the slavering fangs shook her loose droop 
of gown ; and a dull, prolonged growl, like the clamour 
of a far body of insurrectionary marching men, told of 
the rage. 

Fleetwood hovered helpless as a leaf on a bough. 

'Back, I pray,' she said to him, and motioned it, her 
arms at high stretch. 

He held no weapon. The sweat of his forehead half 
blinded him. And she waved him behind her, beckoned 
to the crowd to keep wide way, used her lifted hands 
as flappers; she had all her wits. There was not a 
wrinkle of a grimace. Nothing but her locked lips 
betrayed her vision of imminent doom. The shaking 
of her gown and the snarl in the undergrowl sounded 
insatiate. 

The brute dropped hold. With a weariful jog of the 
head, it pursued its course at an awful even swinging 
pace : Death's own. Death's doer, his reaper, — he, the 
very Death of the Terrors. 

Carinthia's cry rang for clear way to be kept on either 
side, and that accursed went the path through a sharp- 
edged mob, as it poured pell-mell and shrank back, closing 
for the chase to rear of it. 

'Father taught me,' she said to the earl, not more 
discomposed than if she had taken a jump. 

'It 's over!' he groaned, savagely white, and bellowed 
for guns, any weapons. 'Your father? pray?' She 
was entreated "to speak. 

'Yes, it must be shot; it will be merciful to kill it,' 
she said. 'They have carried the child indoors. The 
others are safe. Mr. Woodseer, run to my nurse-girl, 
Martha. He goes,' she murmured, and resumed to the 
earl: 'Father told me women have a better chance 



338 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

than men with a biting dog. He put me before him and 
drilled me. He thought of everything. Usually the 
poor beast snaps — one angry bite, not more. My dress 
teased it.' 

Fleetwood grinned civilly in his excitement; intend- 
ing to yield patient hearing, to be interested by any 
mortal thing she might choose to say. 

She was advised by recollection to let her father rest. 

'No, dear girl, not hurt, no scratch, — only my gown 
torn,' she said to Madge ; and Madge heaved and whim- 
pered, and stooped to pin the frayed strips. 'Quite 
safe ; you see it is easy for women to escape, Mr. Edwards.' 

Carinthia's voice hummed over the girl's head : 
'Father made me practise it, in case. He forethought. 
Madge, you heard of this dog. I told you how to act. 
I was not feverish. Our babe will not feel it.' 

She bade Madge open her hands. 'A scratch would 
kill. Never mind the tearings; I will hold my dress. 
Oh ! there is that one child bitten. Mr. Edwards, 
mount a man for the doctor. I will go in to the child. 
He was bitten. Lose not one minute, Mr. Edwards. 
I see you go.' 

He bowed and hastened. 

The child's mother was red eyes at her door for ease 
of her heart to the lady. Carinthia stepped into the 
room, where the little creature was fetching sobs after 
the spout of screams. 

' God in heaven ! she can't be going to suck the bite ? ' 
Fleetwood cried to Madge, whose answer was disquieting : 
'If it 's to save life, my mistress won't stop at anything.' 

His heart sprang with a lighted comprehension of 
Gower Woodseer's meaning. This girl's fervour opened 
portals to new views of her mistress, or opened eyes. 



A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 339 

CHAPTER XXXIII 

A FEIGHTFUL DEBATE 

Pushing through a swarm into the cot, Fleetwood saw 
Carinthia on a knee beside a girl's lap, where the stripped 
child lay. Its mother held a basin for the dabbing at 
raw red spots. 

A sting of pain touched the memory of its fright, 
and brought further screams, then the sobs. Carinthia 
hummed a Styrian cradle-song as the wailing lulled. 

She glanced up; she said to the earl: 'The bite was 
deep; it was in the blood. We may have time. Get 
me an interpreter. I must ask the mother. I know 
not many words.' 

'What now?' said he, at the looming of new vexa- 
tions. 

'We have no choice. Has a man gone? Dr. Griffiths 
would hurry fast. An hour may be too late. The poison 
travels. Father advised it : — Fifty years for one brave 
minute ! This child should be helped to live.' 

'We '11 do our best. Why an interpreter?' 

'A poker in the fire. The interpreter — whether the 
mother will bear to have it done.' 

'Bum, do you mean?' 

'It should be burnt.' 

'Not by you?' 

'Quick! Quick!' 

'But will you — could you? No, I say!' 

'If there is no one else.' 

'You forget your own child.' 

'He is near the end of his mother.' 

'The doctor will soon arrive.' 



340 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'The poison travels. It cannot be overtaken unless 
we start nearly equal, father said.' 

'Work like that wants an experienced hand.' 

'A steady one. I would not quake — not tremble.' 

'I cannot permit it.' 

' Mr. Wythan would know ! — he would know ! 

'Do you hear, Lady Fleetwood — the dog may not 
be mad!' 

' Signs ! He ran heavy, he foamed.' 

'Foam 's no sign.' 

'Go; order to me a speaker of English and Welsh.' 

The earl spun round, sensible of the novelty of his 
being commanded, and submitting; but no sooner had 
he turned than he fell into her view of the urgency, 
and he went, much like the boy we see at school, with 
a strong hand on his collar running him in. 

Madge entered, and said : ' Mr. Woodseer has seen 
baby and Martha and the donkey all safe.' 

'He is kind,' said Carinthia. 'Do we right to bathe 
the wound? It seems right to wash it. Little things 
that seem right may be exactly wrong after all, when 
we are ignorant. I know burning the wound is right.' 

Madge asked : ' But, my lady, who is to do it ? ' 

'You would do it, dear, if I shrank,' her mistress 
replied. 

'Oh, my lady, I don't know, I can't say. Burning a 
child ! And there 's our baby.' 

'He has had me nearly his time.' 

' Oh, my dear lady ! Would the mother consent ? ' 

' My Madge ! I have so few of their words yet. You 
would hold the child to save it from a dreadful end.' 

'God help me, my lady — I would, as long as I live 
I will. ... Oh ! poor infant, we do need our courage 
now.' 

Seeing that her mistress had not a tear or a tremor, 



A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 341 

the girl blinked and schooled her quailing heart, still 
under the wicked hope that the mother would not con- 
sent ; in a wonderment at this lady, who was womanly, 
and who could hold the red iron at living flesh, to save 
the poor infant from a dreadful end. Her flow of love 
to this dear lady felt the slicing of a cut; was half 
revulsion, half worship; uttermost worship in estrange- 
ment, with the further throbbing of her pulses. 

The cottage door was pushed open for Lord Fleetwood 
and Howell Edwards, whom his master had prepared 
to stand against immediate operations. A mounted 
messenger had been despatched. But it was true, the 
doctor might not be at home. Assuming it to be a 
bite of rabies, minutes lost meant the terrible : Edwards 
bowed his head to that. On the other hand, he foresaw 
the closest of personal reasons for hesitating to be in 
agreement with the lady wholly. The countess was 
not so much a persuasive lady as she was, in her breath 
and gaze, a sweeping and a wafting power. After a 
short argument, he had the sense of hanging like a bank 
detached to fatality of motion by the crack of a landslip, 
and that he would speedily be on his manhood to volun- 
teer for the terrible work. 

He addressed the mother. Her eyes whitened from 
their red at his first word of laying hot iron on the child : 
she ran out with the wild woman's howl to her neigh- 
bours. 

'Poor mother!' Carinthia sighed. 'It may last a. 
year in the child's body, and one day he shudders at 
water. Father saw a bitten man die. I could fear 
death with the thought of that poison in me. I pray 
Dr. Griffiths may come.' 

Fleetwood shuffled a step. 'He will come, he will 
come.' 
, The mother and some women now packed the room. 



342 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

A gabble arose between them and Edwards. They 
fired sharp snatches of speech, and they darted looks at 
the lady and her lord. 

'They do not know!' said Carinthia. 

Gower brought her news that the dog had been killed ; 
Martha and her precious burden were outside, a mob 
of men, too. He was not alarmed; but she went to 
the door and took her babe in her arms, and when the 
women observed the lady holding her own little one, 
their looks were softened. At a hint of explanation 
from Edwards, the guttural gabble rattled up to the shrill 
vowels. 

Fleetwood's endurance broke short. The packed 
small room, the caged-monkey lingo, the wailful child, 
and the past and apprehended debate upon the burning 
of flesh, composed an intolerable torture. He said to 
Edwards: 'Go to the men; settle it with them. We 
have to follow that man Wythan ; no peace otherwise. 
Tell the men the body of the dog must be secured for 
analysis. Mad or not, it 's the same. These Welsh 
mothers and grandmothers won't allow cautery at any 
price. Hark at them!' 

He turned to Carinthia: 'Your ladyship will let 
Mr. Edwards or Mr. Woodseer conduct you to the house 
where you are residing. You don't know these excitable 
people. I wish you to leave.' 

She replied softly : ' I stay for the doctor's coming." 

'Impossible for me to wait, and I can't permit you 
to be here.' 

'It is life and death, and I must not be commanded.' 

'You may be proposing gratuitous agony.' 

' I would do it to my own child.' 

The earl attacked Gower: 'Add your voice to per- 
suade Lady Fleetwood.' 

Gower said : 'What if I think with Lady Fleetwood?' 



A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 343 

'You would see her do it?' 

'Do it myself, if there was no one else.' 

'This dog — all of you have gone mad/ the earl cried. 
'Griffiths may keep his head; it's the only chance. 
Take my word, these Welshwomen — ^just listen to them — 
won't have it. You '11 find yourself in a nest of Furies. 
It may be right to do, it 's folly to propose it, madness- 
to attempt it. And I shall be bitten if I stop here a 
minute longer ; I 'm gone ; I can neither command nor 
influence. I should have thought Gower Woodseer 
would have kept his wits.' 

Fleetwood's look fell on Madge amid the group. 
Gower's perception of her mistress through the girl's 
devotion to her moved him. He took Madge by the 
hand, and the sensation came that it was the next thing 
to pressing his wife's. ' You 're a loyal girl. You have 
a mistress it 's an honour to serve. You bind me. 
By the way, Ines shall run down for a minute before 
I go.' 

' Let him stay where he is,' Madge said, having bobbed 
her curtsey. 

'Oh, if he's not to get a welcome!' said the earl; 
and he could now fix a steadier look on his countess, 
who would have animated him with either a hostile face 
or a tender. She had no expression of a feeling. He 
bent to her formally. 

Carinthia's words were : 'Adieu, my lord.' 

'I have only to say, that Esslemont is ready to 
receive you,' he remarked, bowed more curtly, and 
walked out. 

Gower followed him. They might as well have been 
silent, for any effect from what was uttered between 
them. They spoke opinions held by each of them — 
adverse mainly; speaking for no other purpose than to 
hold their positions. 



344 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'dh, she has courage, no doubt; no one doubted it,' 
Fleetwood said, out of all relation to the foregoing. 

Courage to grapple with his pride and open his heart 
was wanting in him. 

Had that been done, even to the hint of it, instead of 
the lordly indifference shown, Gower might have ven- 
tured on a suggestion, that the priceless woman he could 
call wife was fast slipping away from him and withering 
in her allegiance. He did allude to his personal senti- 
ment. 'One takes aim at Philosophy; Lady Fleetwood 
pulls us up to pay tribute to our debts.' But this was 
vague, and his hearer needed a present thunder and 
lightning to shake and pierce him. 

'I pledged myself to that yacht,' said Fleetwood, by 
way of reply, 'or you and I would tramp it, as we did 
once — ^joUy old days ! I shall have you in mind. Now 
turn back. Do the best you can.' 

They parted midway up the street, Gower bearing 
away a sharp contrast of the earl and his countess ; for, 
until their senses are dulled, impressionable young men, 
however precociously philosophical, are mastered by 
appearances; and they have to reflect under new lights 
before vision of the linked eye and mind is given 
them. 

Fleetwood jumped into his carriage and ordered the 
coachman to drive smartly. He could not have ad- 
mitted the feeling small ; he felt the having been dimin- 
ished, and his requiring a rapid transportation from these 
parts for him to regain his proper stature. Had he 
misconducted himself at the moment of danger? It 
is a ghastly thought, that the craven impulse may over- 
come us. But no, he could reassure his repute for 
manliness. He had done as much as a man could do in 
such a situation. 

At the same time, he had done less than the woman. 



A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 345 

Needed she to have gone so far? Why precipitate her- 
self into the jaws of the beast? 

Now she proposes to burn the child's wound. And 
she will do it if they let her. One sees her at the work, 
— ^pale, flinty; no faces; trebly the terrific woman in 
her mild way of doing the work. All because her old 
father recommended it. Because she thinks it a duty, 
we will say; that is juster. This young woman is a 
very sword in the hand of her idea of duty. She can be 
feminine, too, — there is one who knows. She can be 
particularly distant, too. If in timidity, she has a modest 
view of herself — or an enormous conception of the man 
that married her. Will she take the world's polish a 
little? 

Fleetwood asked with the simplicity of the superior 
being who will consequently perhaps bestow the debt 
he owes. 

But his was not the surface nature which can put a 
question of the sort and pass it. As soon as it had been 
formed, a vision of the elemental creature calling him 
husband smote to shivers the shell we walk on, and 
caught him down among the lower forces, up amid the 
higher; an infernal and a celestial contest for the ex- 
tinction of the one or the other of them, if it was not 
for their union. She wrestled with him where the 
darknesses roll their snake-eyed torrents over between 
jagged horns of the netherworld. She stood him in the 
white ray of the primal vital heat, to bear unwithering 
beside her the test of light. They flew, they chased, 
battled, embraced, disjoined, adventured apart, brought 
back the count of their deeds, compared them, — and 
name the one crushed ! It was the one weighted to shame, 
thrust into the cellar-corner of his own disgust, by his 
having asked whether that starry warrior spirit in the 
woman's frame would 'take polish a little.' 



346 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Why should it be a contention between them? For 
this reason : he was reduced to admire her act ; and if 
he admired, he could not admire without respecting; 
if he respected, perforce he reverenced; if he rever- 
enced, he worshipped. Therefore she had him at her 
feet. At the feet of any woman, except for the trifling 
object! But at the feet of 'It is my husband!' That 
would be a reversal of things. 

Are not things reversed when the name Carinthia 
sounds in the thought of him who laughed at the name 
not less angelically martial than Feltre's adored silver 
trumpets of his Papal procession; sweeter of the new 
morning for the husband of the woman, if he will but 
consent to the worshipper's posture? Yes, and when 
Gower Woodseer's 'Malady of the Wealthy,' as he 
terms the pivotting of the whole marching and wheel- 
ing world upon the favoured of Fortune's habits and 
tastes, promises to quit its fell clutch on him? 

Another voice in the young nobleman cried: Pooh, 
dolt and dupe! and surrounded her for half a league 
with reek of burnt flesh and shrieks of a tortured child ; 
giving her the aspect of a sister of the Parcse. But it 
was not the ascendant voice. It growled underneath, 
much like the deadly beast at Carinthia's gown while 
she stood : — an image of her to dominate the princeliest 
of men ! 

The princeliest must have won his title to the place 
before he can yield other than complimentary station 
to a woman without violation of his dignity; and vast 
wealth is not the title ; worldly honours are not ; deeds 
only are the title. Fleetwood consented to tell himself 
that he had not yet performed the deeds. 

Therefore, for him to be dominated was to be ob- 
scured, eclipsed. A man may outrun us; it is the 
fortune of war. Eclipsed behind the skirts of a woman 



A FRIGHTFUL DEBATE 347 

waving her upraised hands, with, 'Back, pray!' — no, 
that ignominy is too horribly abominable ! Be sure, 
the situation will certainly recur in some form; will 
constantly recur. She will usurp the lead; she will 
play the man. 

Let matters go on as they are. We know our personal 
worth. 

Arrived at this point in the perpetual round of the 
conflict Carinthia had implanted, Fleetwood entered 
anew the ranks of the ordinary men of wealth and a 
coronet, and he hugged himself. He enjoyed repose ; 
knowing it might be but a truce. Matters might go 
on as they were. Still, he wished her away from those 
Wythans, residing at Esslemont. There she might 
come eventually to a better knowledge of his personal 
worth : — ' the gold mine we carry in our bosoms till it 
is threshed out of us in sweat,' that fellow Gower Wood- 
seer says ; adding, that we are the richer for not exploring 
it. Philosophical cynicism is inconclusive. Fleetwood 
knew his large capacities; he had proved them and 
could again. In case a certain half foreseen calamity 
should happen: — imagine it a fact, imagine him seized, 
besides admiring her character, with a taste for her 
person ! Why, then, he would have to impress his 
own mysteriously deep character on her portion of 
understanding. The battle for domination would then 
begin. 

Anticipation of the possibility of it hewed division 
between the young man's pride of being and his warmer 
feelings. Had he been free of the dread of subjection, 
he would have sunk to kiss the feet of the statuesque 
young woman, arms in air, firm-fronted over the hideous 
death that tore at her skirts. 



348 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

A SUEVEY OF THE RIDE OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS ES- 
CORTING THE COUNTESS OF FLEETWOOD TO KENTISH 
ESSLEMONT 

A FORMAL notification from the earl, addressed to the 
Countess of Fleetwood in the third person, that Essle- 
mont stood ready to receive her, autocratically con- 
cealed her lord's impatience to have her there; and by 
the careful precision with which the stages of her journey 
were marked, as places where the servants despatched 
to convey their lady would find preparations for her 
comfort, again alarmed the disordered mother's mind 
on behalf of the child she deemed an object of the father's 
hatred, second to his hatred of the mother. But the 
mother could defend herself, the child was prey. The 
child of a detested wife was heir to his title and estates. 
His look at the child, his hasty one look down at her 
innocent, was conjured before her as resembling a kick 
at a stone in his path. His indifference to the child's 
Christian names pointed darkly over its future. 

The distempered wilfulness of a bruised young woman 
directed her thoughts. She spoke them in the tone of 
reason to her invalid friend Rebecca Wy than, who saw with 
her, felt with her, yearned to retain her till breath was 
gone. Owain Wythan had his doubts of the tyrant 
guilty of maltreating this woman of women. 'But 
when you do leave Wales,' he said, 'you shall be guarded 
up to your haven.' 

Carinthia was not awake to his meaning then. She 
sent a short letter of reply, imitating the style of her 
lord; very baldly stating, that she was unable to leave 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 349 

Wales because of her friend's illness and her part as 
nurse. Regrets were unmentioned. 

Meanwhile Rebecca Wythan was passing to death. 
Not cheerlessly, more and more faintly, her thread of 
life ran to pause, resembling a rill of the drought; and 
the thinner it grew, the shrewder were her murmurs 
for Carinthia's ears in commending 'the most real of 
husbands of an unreal wife' to her friendly care of him 
when he would no longer see the shadow he had wedded. 
She had the privilege of a soul beyond our minor rules 
and restrainings to speak her wishes to the true wife 
of a mock husband — no husband; less a husband than 
this shadow of a woman a wife, she said; and spoke 
them without adjuring the bowed head beside her to 
record a promise or seem to show the far willingness, but 
merely that the wishes should be heard on earth in her 
last breath, for a good man's remaining one chance of 
happiness. On the theme touching her husband Owain, 
it was verily to hear a soul speak, and have knowledge 
of the broader range, the rich interiiowings of the tuned 
discords, a spirit past the flesh can find. Her mind was 
at the same time alive to our worldly conventions when 
other people came under its light; she sketched them 
and their views in her brief words between the gasps, 
with perspicuous, humorous bluntness, as vividly as her 
twitched eyebrows indicated the laugh. Gower Woodseer 
she read startlingly, if correctly. 

Carinthia could not leave her. Attendance upon 
this dying woman was a drinking at the springs of 
life. • 

R.ebecca Wythan under earth, the earl was briefly 
informed of Lady Fleetwood's consent to quit Wales, — 
obedient to a summons two months old, — and that she 
would be properly escorted; for the which her lord had 
made provision. Consequently the tyrant swallowed 



350 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

his wrath, little conceiving the monstrous blow she was 
about to strike. 

In peril of fresh ioods from our Dame, who should 
be satisfied with the inspiring of these pages, it is owned 
that her story of 'the four and twenty squires of Gla- 
morgan and Caermarthen in their brass-buttoned green 
coats and buckskins, mounted and armed, an escort 
of the Countess of Fleetwood across the swollen Severn, 
along midwinter roads, up to the Kentish gates of Essle- 
mont,' has a foundation, though the story is not the 
more credible for her flourish of documentary old ballad- 
sheets, printed when London's wags had ears on cock 
to any whisper of the doings of their favourite White- 
chapel Countess; and indeed hardly depended on 
whispers. 

Enthusiasm sufficient to troop forth four and twenty 
and more hundreds of Cambrian gentlemen, and still 
more of the common folk, as far as they could journey 
afoot, was over the two halves of the Principality, to 
give the countess a reputable and gallant body-guard. 
London had intimations of kindling circumstances con- 
cerning her, and magnified them in the interests of the 
national humour : which is the English way of exalting 
to criticize, criticizing to depreciate, and depreciating 
to restore, ultimately to cherish, in reward for the amuse- 
ment furnished by an eccentric person, not devoid of 
merit. 

These little tales of her, pricking cool blood to some 
activity, were furze-fires among the Welsh. But where 
the latter heard Bardic strings inviting a chorus, the 
former as unanimously obeyed the stroke of their humor- 
ous conductor's bdton for an outburst from the ribs or 
below. And it was really funny to hear of Whitechapel's 
titled heroine roaming Taffyland at her old pranks. 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 351 

Catching a maddened bull by the horns in the market- 
place, and hanging to the infuriate beast, a wild whirl 
of clouts, till he is reduced to be a subject for steaks, — 
that is no common feat. 

Her performances down mines were things of the 
underworld. England clapped hands, merely objecting 
to her not having changed her garb for the picador's or 
matador's, before she seized the bull. Wales adopted 
and was proud of her in any costume. Welshmen North 
and South, united for the nonce, now propose her gal- 
lantry as a theme to the rival Bards at the next Eistedd- 
fod. She is to sit throned in full assembly, oak leaves 
and mistletoe interwoven on her head, a white robe 
and green sash to clothe her, and the vanquished beast's 
horns on a gilded pole behind the dais; hearing the 
eulogies respectively interpreted to her by Colonel 
Fluellen Wythan at one ear, and Captain Agincourt 
Gower at the other. A splendid scene; she might well 
insist to be present. 

There, however, we are at the pitch of burlesque 
beyond her illustrious lord's capacity to stand. Per- 
emptory orders from England arrive, commanding her 
return. She temporizes, postpones, and supplicates to 
have the period extended up to the close of the Eistedd- 
fod. My lord's orders are imperatively repeated, and 
very blunt. He will not have her 'continue playing 
the fool down there.' She holds her ground from August 
into February, and then sets forth, to undergo the 
further process of her taming at Esslemont in England; 
with Llewellyn and Vaughan and Cadwallader, and 
Watkyn and Shenkyn and the remains of the race of Owen 
Tudor, attending her; vowed to extract a receipt from 
the earl her lord's responsible servitors for the safe de- 
livery of their heroine's person at the gates of Esslemont ; 
ich dien their trumpeted motto. 



352 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Counting the number at four and twenty, it wears 
the look of an invasion. But the said number is a 
ballad number, and has been since the antique time. 
There was, at a lesser number, enough of a challenge 
about it for squires of England, never in those days 
backward to pick up a glove or give the ringing rejoinder 
for a thumb-bite, to ride out and tilt compliments with 
the Whitechapel Countess's green cavaliers, rally their 
sprites and entertain them exactly according to their 
degrees of dignity, as exhibited by their 'haviour under 
something of a trial; and satisfy also such tempo- 
rary appetites as might be excited in them by (among 
other matters left to the luck of events) a metropoli- 
tan play upon the Saxon tongue, hard of understand- 
ing to the leeky cocks until their ready store of 
native pepper seasons it; which may require a corre- 
sponding English condiment to rectify the flavour of 
the stew. 

Now the number of Saxe-Normans riding out to 
meet and greet the Welshmen is declared to have not 
exceeded nine. So much pretends to be historic, in 
opposition to the poetic version. They would, we may 
be sure, have made it a point of honour to meet and 
greet their invading guests in precisely similar numbers : 
a larger would have overshot the mark of courtesy ; and 
doubtless a smaller have fallen deplorably short of it. 
Therefore, an acquaintance with her chivalrous, if less 
impulsive, countrymen compels to the dismissing of the 
Dame's ballad authorities. She has every right to 
quote them for her own good pleasure, and may create 
in others an enjoyment of what has been called 'the 
Mackrell fry.' 

Her notion of a ballad is, that it grows like mush- 
rooms from a scuffle of feet on grass overnight, and is a 
sort of forest mother of the pied infant reared and trimmed 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 353 

by historians to show the world its fatherly antecedent 
steps. The hand of Rose Mackrell is at least suggested 
in more than one of the ballads. Here the Welsh irrup- 
tion is a Chevy Chase; next we have the countess for a 
disputed Helen. 

The lady's lord is not a shining figure. How can an 
undecided one be a dispenser of light? Poetry could 
never allow him to say with her : — 

' Where'er I go I make a name, 
And leave a song to follow.' 

Yet he was the master of her fortunes at the time; all 
the material power was his. Even doggerel verse (it is 
worth while to brood on the fact) denies a surviving 
pre-eminence to the potent moody, reverses the position 
between the driven and the driver. Poetry, however 
erratic, is less a servant of the bully Present, or pom- 
pous Past, than History. The Muse of History has 
neither the same divination of the intrinsic nor the 
devotion to it, though truly, she has possession of all 
the positive matter and holds us faster by the crediting 
senses. 

Nine English cavaliers, then, left London early on a 
January or February morning in a Southerly direction, 
bearing East; and they were the Earl of Fleetwood's 
intimates, of the half-dependent order; so we may 
suppose them to have gone at his bidding. That they 
met the procession of the Welsh, and claimed to take 
charge of the countess's carriage, near the Kentish 
border-line, is an assertion supported by testimony 
fairly acceptable. 

Intelligence of the advancing party had reached the 
earl by courier, from the date of the first gathering on 
the bridge of Pont-y-pridd ; and from Gloucester, along 
to.the Thames at Reading; thence away to the Mole, 



354 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

from Mickleham, where the Surrey chalk runs its final 
turfy spine North-eastward to the slope upon Kentish 
soil. 

Greatly to the astonishment of the Welsh cavaliers, 
a mounted footman, clad in the green and scarlet facings 
of Lord Fleetwood's livery, rode up to them a mile 
outside the principal towns and named the inn where 
the earl had ordered preparations for the reception of 
them. England's hospitality was offered on a princely 
scale. Cleverer fencing could not be. 

The meeting, in no sense an encounter, occurred close 
by a thirty-acre meadow, famous over the county; and 
was remarkable for the punctilious exchange of cere- 
monial speech, danger being present ; as we see powder- 
magazines protected by their walls and fosses and 
covered alleys. Notwithstanding which, there was a 
scintillation of sparks. 

Lord Brailstone, spokesman of the welcoming party, 
expressed comic regrets that they had not an interpreter 
with them. 

Mr. Owain Wythan, in the name of the Cambrian 
chivalry, assured him of their comprehension and ap- 
preciation of English, slang. 

Both gentlemen kept their heads uncovered in a sus- 
pense ; they might for a word or two more of that savour 
have turned into the conveniently spacious meadow. 
They were induced, on the contrary, to enter the channel 
of English humour, by hearing Chumley Potts exclaim : 
'His nob!' and all of them laughed at the condensed 
description of a good hit back, at the English party's cost. 

Laughter, let it be but genuine, is of a common 
nationality, indeed a common fireside; and profound 
disagreement is not easy after it. The Dame professes 
:to believe that 'Carinthia Jane' had to intervene as 
(peacemaker, before the united races took the table in 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 355 

Esslemont's dining-hall for a memorable night of it, 
and a contest nearer the mark of veracity than that 
shown in another of the ballads she would have us follow. 
Whatever happened, they sat down at table together, 
and the point of honour for them each and every was, 
not to be first to rise from it. Once more the pure 
Briton and the mixed if not fused English engaged, 
Bacchus for instrument this time, Bacchus for arbiter of 
the fray. 

You may imagine ! says the Dame. She cites the 
old butler at Esslemont, 'as having been much ques- 
tioned on the subject by her family relative, Dr. Glossop, 
and others interested to know the smallest items of the 
facts,' — and he is her authority for the declaration that 
the Welsh gentlemen and the English gentlemen, 'what- 
ever their united number,' consumed the number of nine 
dozen and a half of old Esslemont wine before they rose, 
or as possibly sank, at the festive board at the hour of 
five of the morning. 

Years later, this butler, Joshua Queeney, 'a much 
enfeebled old man,' retold and enlarged the tale of the 
enormous consumption of his best wine; with a sacred 
oath to confirm it, and a tear expressive of elegiacal 
feelings. 

'They bled me twelve dozen, not a bottle less,' she 
quotes him, after a minute description of his counte- 
nance and scrupulously brushed black suit, pensioner 
though he had become. He had grown, during the in- 
terval, to be more communicative as to particulars. 
The wines were four. Sherry led ofif the parade pace, 
Hock the trot into the merry canter. Champagne the 
racing gallop. Burgundy the grand trial of constitu- 
tional endurance for the enforced finish. All these 
wines, except the sparkling, had their date of birth in 
Jhe precedent century. 'They went like water.' 



356 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Questioned anxiously by Dr. Glossop, Queeney main- 
tained an impartial attitude, and said there was no 
victor, no vanquished. They did not sit in blocks. 
The tactics for preserving peace intermingled them. 
Each English gentleman had a Welsh gentleman beside 
him; they both sat firm; both fell together. The 
bottles or decanters were not stationary for the guest 
to fill his glass, they circulated, returning to an empty 
glass. All drank equally. Often the voices were high, the 
talk was loud. The gentlemen were too serious to sing. 

At one moment of the evening Queeney confidently 
anticipated a 'fracassy,' he said. One of the foreign 
party — and they all spoke English, after five dozen 
bottles had gone the round, as correct as the English 
themselves — ^remarked on the seventy-years Old Brown 
Sherry, that 'it had a Madeira flavour.' He spoke it 
approvingly. Thereupon Lord Simon Pitscrew calls to 
Queeney, asking him 'why Madeira had been supplied 
instead of Esslemont's renowned old Sherry?' A 
second Welsh gentleman gave his assurances that his 
friend had not said it was Madeira. But Lord Brail- 
stone accused them of the worse unkindness to a vener- 
able Old Brown Sherry, in attributing a Madeira flavour 
to it. Then another Welsh gentleman briskly and 
emphatically stated his opinion, that the attribution 
of Madeira flavour to it was a compliment. At this, 
which smelt strongly, he said, of insult, Captain .^brane 
called on the name of their absent host to warrant the 
demand of an apology to the Old Brown Sherry, for 
the imputation denying it an individual distinction. 
Chumley Potts offered generally to bet that he would 
distinguish blindfold at a single sip any Madeira from 
any first-class Sherry, Old Brown or Pale. 'Single sip 
or smell !' Ambrose Mallard cried, either for himself 
or his comrade, Queeney could not say which. 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 357 

Of all Lord Fleetwood's following, Mr. Potts and Mr. 
Mallard were, the Dame informs us, Queeney's favour- 
ites, because they were so genial; and he remembered 
most of what they said and did, being moved to it by 
'poor young Mr. Mallard's melancholy end and Mr. 
Potts's grief!' 

The Welsh gentlemen, after paying their devoirs to 
the countess next morning, rode on in fresh health and 
spirits at mid-day to Barlings, the seat of Mr. Mason 
Fennell, a friend of Mr. Owain Wythan's. They shouted, 
in an unseemly way, Queeney thought, at their breakfast- 
table, to hear that three of the English party, namely. 
Captain Abrane, Mr. Mallard, and Mr. Potts, had rung 
for tea and toast in bed. Lord Simon Pitscrew, Lord 
Brailstone, and the rest of the English were sore about 
it; for it certainly wore a look of constitutional in- 
feriority on the English side, which could boast of in- 
dubitably stouter muscles. The frenzied spirits of the 
Welsh gentlemen, when riding ofif, let it be known what 
their opinion was. Under the protection of the countess's 
presence, they were so cheery as to seem triumphantly 
ironical; they sent messages of condolence to the three 
in bed. 

With an undisguised reluctance, the countess, hold- 
ing Mr. Owain Wythan's hand longer than was publicly 
decent, calling him by his Christian name, consented to 
their departure. As they left, they defiled before her; 
the vow was uttered by each, that at the instant of her 
summons he would mount and devote himself to her 
service, individually or collectively. She waved her 
hand to them. They ranged in line and saluted. She 
kissed her hand. Sweeping the cavaliers' obeisance, 
gallantest of bows, they rode away. 

A striking scene. Dame Gossip says; but raises a 
wind over the clipped adventure, and is for recounting 



358 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

what London believed about it. Enough has been con- 
ceded for the stoppage of her intrusion; she is left in 
the likeness of a full-charged pistol capless to the clapping 
trigger. 

That which London believed, or affected to believe 
about it, would fill chapters. There was during many 
months an impression of Lord Fleetwood's countess as 
of a tenacious, dread, prevailing young woman, both 
intrepid and astute, who had, by an exercise of various 
arts, legitimate in open war of husband and wife, gathered 
the pick of the Principality to storm and carry another 
of her husband's houses. The certification that her 
cavaliers were Welsh gentlemen of wealth and position 
required a broader sneer at the Welsh than was war- 
ranted by later and more intimate acquaintance, if it 
could be made to redound to her discredit. So, there- 
fore, added to the national liking for a plucky woman, 
she gained the respect for power. Whitechapel was 
round her like London's one street's length extension 
of smoky haze, reminder of the morning's fog under 
novel sunbeams. 

Simultaneously, strange to say, her connubial antag- 
onist, far from being overshadowed, grew to be propor- 
tionately respected, and on the strength of his deserts, 
apart from his title and his wealth. He defended him- 
self, as he was bound to do, by welcoming the picked 
Welsh squires with hospitable embrace, providing cere- 
monies, receptions, and most comfortable arrangements 
for them, along the route. But in thus gravely entering 
into the knightly burlesque of the procession, and assist- 
ing to swell the same, he not only drew the venom from 
it, he stood forth as England's deputed representative, 
equal to her invasive challengeing guests at all points, 
comic, tragic, or cordial. He saw that it had to be 
treated as a national affair; and he parried the 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 359 

imputation which would have injured his country's name 
for courtly breeding, had they been ill-received, whUe he 
rescued his own good name from derision by joining the 
extravagance. 

He was well inspired. It was popularly felt to be 
the supreme of clever — nay, noble — fencing. Really 
noble, though the cleverness was conspicuous. A de- 
fensive stroke, protecting him against his fair one's 
violent charge of horse, warded off an implied attack 
upon Old England, in Old England's best-humoured 
easy manner. 

Supposing the earl to have acted otherwise, his countess 
would virtually have ridden over him, and wild Wales 
have cast a shadow on the chivalry of magisterial Eng- 
land. He and his country stood to meet the issue 
together the moment the Countess of Fleetwood and her 
escort crossed the Welsh border; when it became a 
question between the hot-hearted, at their impetuous 
gallop, and the sedatively minded, in an imfortified 
camp of arm-chairs. The earl's adroitness, averting a 
collision fatal or discomforting to both, disengaged him 
from an incumbent odium, of which, it need hardly be 
stated, neither the lady nor her attendant cavaliers had 
any notion at the hour of the assembly for the start 
for England on the bridge of Pont-y-pridd. The himgry 
mother had the safety of her babe in thought. The hot- 
headed Welshmen were sworn to guard their heroine. 

That is the case presented by the Dame's papers, 
when the incredible is excised. She claims the being 
a good friend to fiction in feeding popular voracity with 
all her stores. But the Old Buccaneer, no professed 
friend to it, is a sounder guide in the maxim, where he 
says : Deliver yourself by permit of your cheque on the 
Bank of Reason, and your account is increased instead 
of lessened. 



360 . THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Our account with credulity, he would signify. 

The Dame does not like the shaking for a sifting. 
Romance, however, is not a mountain made of gold, 
but a vein running some way through; and it must be 
engineered, else either we are filled with wind from 
swallowing indigestible substance, or we consent to a 
debasing of the currency, which means her to-morrow's 
bankruptcy ; and the spectacle of Romance in the bank- 
ruptcy court degrades us (who believe we are allied to 
her) as cruelly as it appals. It gives the cynic licence 
to bark day and night for an entire generation. 

Surely the Countess of Fleetwood's drive from the 
Welsh borders to Esslemont, accompanied by the chosen 
of the land, followed by the vivats of the whole Princi- 
pality, and England gaping to hear the stages of her 
progress, may be held sufficiently romantic without 
stuffing of surprises and conflicts, adventures at inns, 
alarms at midnight, windings of a horn over hilly verges 
of black heaths, and the rape of the child, the pursuit, 
the recovery of the child, after a new set of heroine per- 
formances on the part of a strung-wire mother, whose 
outcry in a waste country district, as she clasps her boy 
to her bosom again : ' There 's a farm I see for milk for 
him!' the Dame repeats, having begun with an admis- 
sion that the tale has been contradicted, and is not pro- 
duced on authority. The end in design is to win the 
ear by making a fuss, and roll event upon event for 
the braining of common intelligence, until her narra- 
tive resembles dusty troopings along a road to the races. 

Carinthia and her babe reached Esslemont, no matter 
what impediments. There, like a stopped runner whose 
pantings lengthen to the longer breath, her alarms over 
the infant subsided, ceasing for as long as she clasped it 
or was in the room with it. Walking behind the pre- 
cious donkey-basket round the park, she went armed. 



A SURVEY OF THE WELSH CAVALIERS 361 

and she soon won a fearful name at Kentish cottage- 
hearths, though she was not black to see, nor old. 
No, she was very young. But she did all the things that 
soldiers do, — was a bit of a foreigner; — she brought a 
reputation up from the Welsh land, and it had a raven's 
croak and a glow-worm's drapery and a goblin's origin. 

Something was hinted of her having agitated London 
once. Somebody dropped word of her and that old 
Lord Levellier up at Croridge. She stalked park and 
country at night. Stories, one or two near the truth, 
were told of a restless and a very decided lady down 
these parts as well; and the earl her husband daren't 
come nigh in his dread of her, so that he runs as if to save 
his life out of every place she enters. And he 's not one 
to run for a trifle. His pride is pretty well a match for 
princes and princesses. 

All the same, he shakes in his shoes before her, durst 
hardly spy at Esslemont again while she 's in occupation. 
His managing gentleman comes down from him, and 
goes up from her ; that 's how they communicate. One 
week she 's quite solitary ; another week the house is 
brimful as can be. She 's the great lady entertaining 
then. Yet they say it 's a fact, she has not a shilling of 
her own to fling at a beggar. She '11 stock a cottage 
wanting it with provision for a fortnight or more, and 
she '11 order the doctor in, and she '11 call and see the 
right things done for illness. But no money ; no one 's 
to expect money of her. The shots you hear in Essle- 
mont grounds out of season are she and her maid, always 
alongside her, at it before a target on a bank, trying 
that old Lord Levellier's gunpowder out of his mill; 
and he 's got no money either ; not for his workmen, they 
say, until they congregate, and a threatening to blow him 
up brings forth half their pay, on account. But he 's a 
known miser. She 's not that. She 's a pleasant-faced 



362 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

lady for the poor. She has the voice poor people like. 
It 's only her enemy, maybe her husband, she can 
be terrible to. She 'd drive a hole through a robber 
stopping her on the road, as soon as look at him. 

This was Esslemont's atmosphere working its way to 
the earl, not so very long after the establishment of his 
countess there. She could lay hold of the English, too, 
it seemed. Did she call any gentleman of the district 
by his Christian name? Lord Simon Pitscrew reported 
her doing so in the case of one of the Welshmen. Those 
Welshmen ! Apparently they are making a push for 
importance in the kingdom ! 



CHAPTER XXXV 

IN WHICH CERTAIN CHANGES MAT BE DISCERNED 

Behind his white plaster of composure, Lord Fleet- 
wood had alternately raged and wondered during the 
passage of the Welsh cavalcade up Eastward : — a gigantic 
burlesque, that would have swept any husband of their 
heroine off the scene had he failed to encounter it deferen- 
tially, preserving his countenance and ostensibly his 
temper. An idiot of a woman, incurable in her lunacy, 
suspects the father of the infant as guilty of designs done 
to death in romances; and so she manages to set going 
solemnly a bigger blazing Tom Fool's show than any 
known or written romance gives word of! And that 
fellow, Gower Woodseer, pleads, in apology, for her 
husband's confusion, physiologically, that it comes of 
her having been carried off and kept a prisoner when she 
was bearing the child and knitting her whole mind to 
ensure the child. But what sheer animals these women 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 363 

are, if they take impressions in such a manner ! And 
Mr. Philosopher argues that the abusing of women proves 
the hating of Nature ; names it ' the commonest insanity, 
and the deadliest,' and men are 'planted in the bog of 
their imclean animal condition until they do proper 
homage to the animal Nature makes the woman be.' 
Oh, pish, sir! — as Meeson Corby had the habit of ex- 
claiming when Abrane's 'fiddler' argues him into a 
corner. The fellow can fiddle fine things and occasion- 
ally clear sense: — 'Men hating Nature are insane. 
Women and Nature are close. If it is rather general to 
hate Nature and maltreat women, we begin to see why 
the world is a mad world.' That is the tune of the 
fiddler's fiddling. As for him, something protects him. 
He was the slave of Countess Livia ; like Abrane, Mallard, 
Corby, St. Ombre, yoimg Cressett, and the dozens. He 
is now her master. Can a man like that be foolish, in 
saying of the Countess Carinthia, she is 'not only quick 
to understand, she is in the quick of understanding'? 
Gower Woodseer said it of her in Wales, and again on 
the day of his walk up to London from Esslemont, after 
pedestrian exercise, which may heat the frame, but cools 
the mind. She stamped that idea on a thoughtful 
fellow. 

He 's a Welshman. They are all excitable, — have 
heads on hound's legs for a flying figure in front. Still, 
they must have an object, definitely seen by them — 
definite to them if dim to their neighbours; and it 
will run in the poetic direction : and the woman to win 
them, win all classes of them, within so short a term, is 
a toss above extraordinary. She is named Carinthia : 
suitable name for the Welsh pantomimic procession. Or 
cry out the word in an amphitheatre of Alpine crags, — it 
sounds at home. 

She is a daughter of the mountains, — should never 



364 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

have left them. She is also a daughter of the Old Buc- 
caneer — no poor specimen of the fighting Englishman 
of his day. According to Rose Mackrell, he, this Old 
Buccaneer, it was, who, by strange adventures, brought 
the great Welsh mines into the family! He would not 
be ashamed in spying through his nautical glass, up or 
down, at his daughter's doings. She has not yet de- 
veloped a taste for the mother's tricks : — the mother, 
said to have been a kindler. That Countess of Cressett 
was a romantic little fly-away bird. Both parents were 
brave : the daughter would inherit gallantry. She 
inherits a kind of thwarted beauty. Or it needs the 
situation seen in Wales : her arms up and her unaffrighted 
eyes over the unappeasable growl. She had then the 
beauty coming from the fathom depths, with the torch 
of Life in the jaws of Death to light her : beauty of the 
nether kingdom mounting to an upper place in the higher. 
Her beauty recognized, the name of the man who married 
her is not Longears — not to himself, is the main point; 
nor will it be to the world when he shows that it is not 
so to himself. 

Suppose he went to her, would she be trying at domina- 
tion? The woman's pitch above woman's beauty was 
perceived to be no intermittent beam, but so living as 
to take the stamp of permanence. More than to 
say it was hers, it was she. What a deadly peril brought 
into view was her character — soul, some call it : gener- 
ally a thing rather distasteful in women, or chilling to 
the masculine temperament. Here it attracts. Here, 
strange to say, it is the decided attraction, in a woman 
of a splendid figure and a known softness. By rights, 
she should have more understanding than to suspect the 
husband as guilty of designs done to death in romances. 
However, she is not a craven who compliments him by 
fearing him, and he might prove that there is no need for 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 365 

fear. But she would be expecting explanations before 
the reconcilement. The bosom of these women will keep 
on at its quck heaving until they have heard certain 
formal words, oaths to boot. How speak them? 

His old road of the ladder appeared to Fleetwood 
an excellent one for obviating explanations and effect- 
ing the reconcilement without any temporary seeming 
forfeit of the native male superiority. For there she 
is at Esslemont now; any night the window could be 
scaled. 'It is my husband.' The soul was in her voice 
when she said it. 

He remembered that it had not ennobled her to him 
then ; had not endeared ; was taken for a foreign example 
of the childish artless, imperfectly suited to our English 
clime. The tone of adorable utterances, however much 
desired, is never for repetition; nor is the cast of divine 
sweet looks ; nor are the particular deeds — once pardon- 
able, fitly pleaded. A second scaling of her window — 
no, night's black hills girdle the scene with hoarse echoes ; 
the moon rushes out of her clouds grimacing. Even 
Fleetwood's devil, much addicted to cape and sword 
and ladder, the vulpine and the gryphine, rejected it. 

For she had, by singular transformation since, and 
in spite of a deluging grotesque that was antecedently 
incredible, she had become a personage, counting her 
adherents; she could put half the world in motion on 
her side. Yell those Welshmen to scorn, they were 
on a plane finding native ground with as large a body 
of these English. His baser mind bowed to the fact. 
Her aspect was entirely different; her attitude toward 
him as well : insomuch that he had to chain her to her 
original features by the conjuring of recollected phrases 
memorable for the vivid portraiture of her foregone 
simplicity and her devotion to 'my husband.' 

Yes, there she was at Esslemont, securely there, near 



366 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

him, to be seen any day; worth claiming, too; a com- 
batant figure, provocative of the fight and the capture 
rather than repellent. The respect enforced by her 
attitude awakened in him his inherited keen old relish 
for our intersexual strife and the indubitable victory of the 
stronger, with the prospect of slavish charms, fawning 
submission, marrowy spoil. Or perhaps, preferably, a 
sullen. submission, reluctant charms; far more marrowy. 
Or .who can say? — the creature is a rocket of the shot 
into the fiery garland of stars; she may personate any 
new marvel, be an unimagined terror, an overwhelming 
bewitchment: for she carries the unexpected in her 
bosom. And does it look like such indubitable victory, 
when the man, the woman's husband, divided from her, 
toothsome to the sex, acknowledges within himself and 
lets the world know his utter dislike of other women's 
charms, to the degree that herbal anchorites positively 
could not be colder, could not be chaster : — and he no 
forest bird, but having the garden of the variety of 
fairest flowers at nod and blush about him! That was 
the truth. Even Henrietta's beauty had the effect of 
a princess's birthday doll admired on show by a con- 
temptuous boy. 

Wherefore, then, did the devil in him seek to pervert 
this loveliest of young women and feed on her humilia- 
tion for one flashing minute? The taste had gone, the 
desire of the vengeance was extinct, personal gratifica- 
tion could not exist. He spied into himself, and set it 
down to one among the many mysteries. 

Men uninstructed in analysis of motives arrive at 
this dangerous conclusion, which spares their pride and 
caresses their indolence, while it flatters the sense of 
internal vastness, and invites to headlong intoxication. 
It allows them to think they are of such a compound, 
and must necessarily act in that manner. They are not 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 367 

taught at the schools or by the books of the honoured 
places in the libraries, to examine and see the simplicity 
of these mysteries, which it would be here and there 
a saving grace for them to see; as the minstrel, duti- 
fully inclining to the prosy in their behalf and morality's, 
should exhibit; he should arrest all the characters 
of his drama to spring it to vision and strike perchance 
the chord primarily if not continually moving them, 
that readers might learn the why and how of a germ 
of evil, its flourishing under rebuke, the persistency of 
it after the fell creative energy has expired and pleasure 
sunk to be a phlegmatic dislike, almost a loathing. 

This would here be done, but for signs of a barometric 
dead fall in Dame Gossip's chaps, already heavily pen- 
dent. She would be off with us on one of her whirling 
cyclones or elemental mad waltzes, if a step were taken 
to the lecturing-desk. We are so far in her hands that 
we have to keep her quiet. She will not hear of the 
reasons and the change of reasons for one thing and 
the other. Things were so: narrate them, and let 
readers do their reflections for themselves, she says, 
denouncing our conscientious method as the direct road 
downward to the dreadful modern appeal to the senses 
and assault on them for testimony to the veracity of 
everything described; to the extent that, at the men- 
tion of a vile smell, it shall be blown into the reader's 
nostrils, and corking-pins attack the comfortable seat 
of him simultaneously with a development of surprises. 
'Thither your conscientiousness leads.' 

It is not perfectly visible. And she would gain in- 
formation of the singular nature of the young of the 
male sex in listening to the wrangle between Lord Fleet- 
wood and Gower Woodseer on the subject of pocket- 
money for the needs of the Countess Carinthia. For 
it was a long and an angry one, and it brought out both 



368 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of them, exposing, of course, the more complex creature 
the most. They were near a rupture, so scathing was 
Gower's tone of irate professor to shirky scholar — or 
it might be put, German professor to English scuffle- 
shoe. 

She is for the scene of 'Chillon John's' attempt to 
restore the respiration of his bank-book by wager; to 
wit, that he would walk a mile, run a mile, ride a mile, 
and jump ten hurdles, then score five rifle-shots at a 
three hundred yards' distant target within a count of 
minutes; twenty-five, she says; and vows it to have 
been one of the most exciting of scenes ever witnessed 
on green turf in the land of wagers; and that he was 
accomplishing it quite certainly when, at the first of 
the hurdles, a treacherous unfolding and waving of a 
white flag caused his horse to swerve and the loss of one 
minute, seven and twenty seconds, before he cleared the 
hurdles ; after which, he had to fire his shots hurriedly, 
and the last counted blank, for being outside the circle 
of the stated time. 

So he was beaten. But a terrific uproar over the 
field proclaimed the popular dissatisfaction. Presently 
there was a cleavage of the mob, and behold a chase at 
the heels of the fellow to rival the very captain himself 
for fleetness. He escaped, leaving his pole with the 
sheet nailed to it, by way of flag, in proof of foul play ; 
or a proof, as the other side declared, of an innocently 
premature signalizing of the captain's victory. 

However that might be, he ran. Seeing him spin his 
legs at a hound's pace, half a mile away, four countrymen 
attempted to stop him. All four were laid on their backs 
in turn with stupefying celerity; and on rising to their 
feet, and for the remainder of their natural lives, they 
swore that no man but a Champion could have floored 
them so. This again may have been due to the sturdy 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 369 

island pride of four good men knocked over by one. 
We are unable to decide.' Wickedness there was, the 
Dame says ; and she counsels the world to ' put and put 
together/ for, at any rate, 'a partial elucidation of a 
most mysterious incident.' As to the wager-money, the 
umpires dissented ; a famous quarrel, that does not con- 
cern us here, sprang out of the dispute; which was 
eventually, after great disturbance of the country, re- 
ferred to three leading sportsmen in the metropolitan 
sphere, who pronounced the wager ' off,' being two to 
one. Hence arose the dissatisfied third party, and the 
letters of this minority to the newspapers, exciting, if not 
actually dividing, all England for several months. 

Now the month of December was the month of the 
Dame's mysterious incident. From the date of January, 
as Madge Winch knew, Christopher Ines had ceased 
to be in the service of the Earl of Fleetwood. At Essle- 
mont Park gates, one winter afternoon of a North-east 
wind blowing 'rum-shrub into men for a stand against 
rheumatics,' as he remarked, Ines met the girl by appoint- 
ment, and informing her that he had money, and that 
Lord Fleetwood was 'a black nobleman,' he proposed 
immediate marriage. The bj^eneal invitation, wafted 
to her on the breath of rum-shrub, obtained no response 
from Madge until she had received evasive answers as to 
why the earl dismissed him, and whence the stock of 
money came. 

Lord Fleetwood, he repeated, was a black nobleman. 
She brought him to say of his knowledge, that Lord 
Fleetwood hated, and had reason to hate. Captain 
Levellier. 'Shouldn't I hate the man took my sweet- 
heart from me and popped me into the noose with his 
sister instead?' Madge was now advised to be over- 
come by the smell of rum-shrub : — a mere fancy drink 
tossed off by heroes in their idle moments, before they 



370 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

settle down to the serious business of real drinking, 
Kit protested. He simulated envious admiration of 
known heroes, who meant business, and scorned any 
of the weak stuff under brandy, and went at it till the 
bottles were the first to give in. For why? They 
had to stomach an injury from the world or their young 
woman, and half-way on they shoved that young person 
and all enemies aside, trampled 'em. That was what 
Old O'Devy signified ; and many 's the man driven to 
his consolation by a cat of a girl, who 's like the elements 
in their puffs and spits at a gallant ship, that rides the 
tighter and the tighter for all they can do to capsize. 
'Tighter than ever I was tight I '11 be to-night, if you can't 
behave.' 

They fell upon the smack of words. Kit hitched 
and huffed away, threatening bottles. Whatever he 
had done, it was to establish the petticoated hornet 
in the dignity of matron of a champion light-weight's 
wholesome retreat of a public-house. A spell of his 
larkish hilarity was for the punishment of the girl de- 
voted to his heroical performances, as he still considered 
her to be, though women are notoriously volatile, and 
her language was mounting a stage above the kitchen. 

Madge had little sorrow for him. She was the girl 
of the fiery heart, not the large heart; she could never 
be devoted to more than one at a time, and her mistress 
had all her heart. In relation to Kit, the thought of 
her having sacrificed her good name to him, flung her 
on her pride of chastity, without the reckoning of it 
as a merit. It was the inward assurance of her inde- 
pendence : the young spinster's planting of the standard 
of her proud secret knowedge of what she is, let it be 
a thing of worth or what you will, or the world think 
as it may. That was her t^hought. 

Her feeling, the much livelier animation, was bitter 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 371 

grief, because her mistress, unlike herself, had been 
betrayed by her ignorance of the man into calling him 
husband. Just some knowledge of the man ! The 
warning to the rescue might be there. For nothing 
did the dear lady weep except for her brother's evil 
fortune. The day when she had intelligence from Mrs. 
Levellier of her brother's defeat, she wept over the 
letter on her knees long hours. 'Me, my child, my 
brother!' she cried more than once. She had her 
suspicion of the earl then, and instantly, as her loving 
servant had. The suspicion was now no dark light, 
but a clear day-beam to Madge. She adopted Kit's 
word of Lord Fleetwood. ' A black nobleman he is ! 
he is !' Her mistress had written like a creature begging 
him for money. He did not deign a reply. To her ! 
When he had seen good proof she was the bravest woman 
on earth; and she rushed at death to save a chUd, a 
common child, as people say. And who knows but she 
saved that husband of hers, too, from bites might have 
sent him out of the world barking, and all his wealth not 
able to stop him ! 

They were in the month of March. Her dear mistress 
had been begging my lord through Mr. Woodseer con- 
stantly of late for an allowance of money ; on her knees 
to him, as it seemed; and Mr. Woodseer was expected 
at Esslemont. Her mistress was looking for him eagerly. 
Something her heart was in depended on it, and only 
her brother could be the object, for now she loved only 
him of these men; though a gentleman coming over 
from Barlings pretty often would pour mines of money 
into her lap for half a word. 

Carinthia had walked up to Croridge in the morning 
to meet her brother at Lekkatts. Madge was left guar- 
dian of the chUd. She liked a stroll any day round 
Esslemont Park, where her mistress was beginning to 



372 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

strike roots ; as she soon did wherever she was planted, 
despite a tone of pity for artificial waters and gardeners' 
arts. Madge respected them. She knew nothing of 
the grandeur of wildness. Her native English veneration 
for the smoothing hand of wealth led her to think Essle- 
mont the home of all homes for a lady with her husband 
beside her. And without him, too, if he were wafted 
over seas and away : if there would but come a wind to 
do that ! 

The wild North-easter tore the budded beeches. Master 
John Edward Russett lay in the cradling-basket drawn 
by his docile donkey, Martha and Madge to right and 
left of him ; a speechless rustic, graduating in footman's 
livery, to rear. 

At slow march round by the wrinkled water, Madge 
saw the park gates flung wide. A coach drove up the 
road along on the farther rim of the circle, direct for 
the house. It stopped, the team turned leisurely and 
came at a smart pace toward the carriage-basket. Lord 
Fleetwood was recognized. 

He alighted, bidding one of his grooms drive to stables. 
Madge performed her reverence, aware that she did it in 
clumsy style; his presence had startled her instincts 
and set them travelling. 

'Coldish for the youngster,' he said. 'AH well, 
Madge?' 

'Baby sleeps in the air, my lord,' she replied. 'My 
lady has gone to Croridge.' 

'Sharp air for a child, isn't it?' 

'My lady teaches him to breathe with his mouth 
shut, like her father taught her when she was little. 
Our baby never catches colds.' 

Madge displayed the child's face. 

The father dropped a glance on it from the height of 
skies. 



CERTAIN CHANGES MAY BE DISCERNED 373 

'Croridge, you said?' 

'Her uncle, Lord Levellier's.' 

'You say, never catches cold?' 

'Not our baby, my lord.' 

Probably good management on the part of the mother. 
But the wife's absence disappointed the husband strung 
to meet her, and an obtrusion of her practical mother- 
hood blurred the prospect demanded by his present step. 

'When do you expect her to return, Madge?' 

'Before nightfall, my lord.' 

'She walks?' 

'Oh yes, my lady is fond of walking.' 

' I suppose she could defend herself ? ' 

'My lady walks with a good stick.' 

Fleetwood weighed the chances; beheld her figure 
attacked, Amazonian. 

'And tell me, my dear — Kit?' 
I don't see more of Kit Ines.' 

'What has the fellow done?' 

'I 'd like him to let me know why he was dismissed.' 

'Ah. He kept silent on that point.' 

'He let out enough.' 

'You've punished him, if he's to lose a bonny 
sweetheart, poor devil ! Your sister Sally sends you 
messages ? ' 

' We 're both of us grateful, my lord.' 

He lifted the thin veil from John Edward Russett's 
face with a loveless hand. 

'You remember the child bitten by a dog down in 
Wales.' I have word from my manager there. Poor 
little wretch has died — died raving.' 

Madge's bosom went shivering up and sank. 'My 
lady was right. She 's not often wrong.' 

' She 's looking well ? ' said the earl, impatient with 
her moral merits : — and this communication from Wales 



374 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had been the decisive motive agent in hurrying him at 
last to Esslemont. The next moment he heard coolly 
of the lady's looking well. He wanted fervid eulogy of 
his wife's looks, if he was to hear any. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

BELOW THE SURFACE AND ABOVE 

The girl was counselled by the tremor of her instincts 
to forbear to speak of the minor circumstance, that her 
mistress had, besides a good stick, a good companion 
on the road to Croridge : and she rejoiced to think her 
mistress had him, because it seemed an intimation of 
justice returning upon earth. She was combative, a 
born rebel against tyranny. She weighed the powers, 
she felt to the worth of the persons coming into her 
range of touch : she set her mistress and my lord front- 
ing for a wrestle, and my lord's wealth went to thin 
vapour, and her mistress's character threw him. More 
dimly, my lord and the Welsh gentleman were put to 
the trial : a tough one for these two men. She did not 
proclaim the winner, but a momentary flutter of pity 
in the direction of Lord Fleetwood did as much. She 
pitied him; for his presence at Esslemont betrayed an 
inclination; he was ignorant of his lady's character, of 
how firm she could be to defy him and all the world, in 
her gratitude to the gentleman she thought of as her 
true friend, smiled at for his open nature, called by his 
Christian name. , 

The idea of a piece of information stinging Lord 
Fleetwood, the desire to sting, so as to be an instrument 
of retribution (one of female human nature's ecstasies) ; 
and her abstaining, that she might not pain the lord 



BELOW THE SURFACE AND ABOVE 375 

who had been generous to her sister Sally, made the 
force in Madge's breast which urges to the gambling 
for the undeveloped, entitled prophecy. She kept it 
low and felt it thrill. 

Lord Fleetwood chatted; Madge had him wincing. 
He might pull the cover of the child's face carelessly — 
he looked at the child. His look at the child was a 
thought of the mother. If he thought of the mother, 
he would be wanting to see her. If he heard her call a 
gentleman by his Christian name, and heard the gentle- 
man say 'Carinthia,' my lord would begin to shiver at 
changes. Women have to do unusual things when they 
would bring that outer set to human behaviour. Per- 
haps my lord would mount the coach-box and whip his 
horses away, adieu forever. His lady would not weep. 
He might, perhaps, command her to keep her mouth 
shut from gentlemen's Christian names, all except his 
own. His lady would not obey. He had to learn 
something of changes that had come to others as well 
as to himself. Ah, and then would he dare hint, as 
base men will? He may blow foul smoke on her, she 
will shine out of it. He has to learn what she is, that 
is his lesson ; and let him pray all night and work hard 
all day for it not to be too late. Let him try to be a little 
like Mr. Woodseer, who worships the countess, and is 
hearty with the gentleman she treats as her best of 
friends. There is the real nobleman. 

Fleetwood chatted on airily. His instincts were 
duller than those of the black-browed girl, at whom he 
gazed for idle satisfaction of eye from time to time 
while she replied demurely and maintained her drama 
of the featureless but well-distinguished actors within 
her bosom, ^a round, plump bust, good wharfage and 
harbourage, he was thinking. Excellent harbourage, 
supposing the arms out in pure good-will. A girl to 



376 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

hold her voyager fast and safe ! Men of her class had 
really a capital choice in a girl like this. Men of another 
class as well, possibly, for temporary anchorage out mid- 
channel. No? — ^possibly not. Here and there a girl 
is a Tartar. Ines talked of her as if she were a kind 
of religious edifice and a doubt were sacrilege. She 
could impress the rascal : girls have their arts for reach- 
ing the holy end, and still they may have a welcome for 
a foreign ship. 

The earl said humorotislyt 'You will grant me per- 
mission to lunch at your mistress's table in her absence ? ' 
And she said: 'My lord!' And he resumed, to waken 
her interest with a personal question : ' You like our quiet 
country round Esslemont?' She said: 'I do,' and gave 
him plain look for look. Her eye was undefended : he 
went into it, finding neither shallow nor depth, simply 
the look, always the look ; whereby he knew that no story 
of man was there, and not the shyest of remote responsive 
invitations from Nature's wakened and detected rogue. 
The bed of an unmarrietl .ysung woman's eye yields her 
secret of past and present to the'intrepid diver, if he can 
get his plunge; he holds her for the tenth of a minute, 
that is the revealment. Jewel or oyster-shell, it is ours. 
She cannot withhold it, he knew right well. This girl, 
then, was, he could believe, one of the rarely exampled 
innocent in knowledge. He was practised to judge. 

Invitation or challenge or response from the hand- 
somest he would have scorned just then. His native 
devilry suffered a stir at sight of an innocent in knowledge 
and spotless after experiences. By a sudden singular 
twist, rather unfairly, naturally, as it happened, he 
attributed it to an influence issuing from her mistress, 
to whom the girl was devoted, whom consequently she 
copied; might physically, and also morally, at a dis- 
tance, resemble. 



BELOW THE SURFACE AND ABOVE 377 

' Well, you 've been a faithful servant to your lady, 
my dear; I hope you'll be comfortable here,' he said. 
'She likes the mountains.' 

'My lady would be quite contented if she could pass 
two months of the year in the mountains,' Madge 
answered. 

'Look at me. They say people living together get 
a likeness to one another. What 's your opinion ? Upon 
my word, your eyebrows remind me, though they 're 
not the colour — they have a bend . . .' 

'You 've seen my lady in danger, my lord.' 

'Yes; well, there 's no one to resemble her there, she 
has her mark — kind of superhuman business. We 're 
none of us "fifty feet high, with phosphorus heads," as 
your friend Mr. Gower Woodseer says of the prodigiosities. 
Lady Fleetwood is back — when?' 

'Before dark, she should be.' 

He ran up the steps to the house. 

At Lekkatts beneath Croridge a lean midday meal 
was being finished hard on the commencement by a 
silent company of three. When eating is choking to 
the younger members of the repast, bread and cold 
mutton-bone serve the turn as conclusively as the 
Frenchman's buffet-dishes. Carinthia's face of unshed 
tears dashed what small appetite Chillon had. Lord 
Levellier plied his fork in his right hand ruminating, 
his back an arch across his plate. 

Riddles to the thwarted young, these old people 
will not consent to be read by sensations. Carinthia 
watched his jaws at their work of eating under his 
victim's eye — knowing Chillon to be no longer an officer 
in the English service; knowing that her beloved had 
sold out for the mere money to pay debts and support 
his Henrietta ; knowing, as he must know, that Chillon's 
act struck a knife to pierce his mother's breast through 



378 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

her cofifin-boards ! This old man could eat, and he 
cotdd withhold the means due to his dead sister's son. 
Could he look on Chillon and not feel that the mother's 
heart was beating in her son's fortunes? Half the 
money due to Chillon would have saved him from ruin. 

Lord Levellier laid his fork on the plate. He munched 
his grievance with his bit of meat. The nephew and 
niece here present feeding on him were not so considerate 
as the Welsh gentleman, a total stranger, who had 
walked up to Lekkatts with the Countess of Fleetwood, 
and expressed the preference to feed at an inn. Rel- 
atives are cormorants. 

His fork on his plate released the couple. Barely 
half a dozen words, before the sitting to that niggard 
restoration, had informed Carinthia of the step taken 
by her brother. She beckoned him to follow her. 

'The worst is done now, Chillon. I am silent. Uncle 
is a rock. You say we must not offend. I have given 
him my whole mind. Say where Riette is to live.' 

'Her headquarters will be here, at a furnished house. 
She 's with her cousin, the Dowager.' 

'Yes. She should be with me.' 

' She wants music. She wants — ^poor girl ! let her 
have what comes to her.' 

Their thoughts beneath their speech were like fish 
darting under shadow of the traflSc bridge. 

'She loves music,' said Carinthia; 'it is almost life 
to her, like fresh air to me. Next month I am in London ; 
Lady Arpington is kind. She will give me as much of 
their polish as I can take. I dare say I should feel the 
need of it if I were an enlightened person.' 

'For instance, did I hear "Owain," when your Welsh 
friend was leaving?' Chillon asked. 

' It was his dying wife's wish, brother.' 

'Keep to the rules, dear.' 



BELOW THE SURFACE AND ABOVE 379 

'They have been broken, Chillon.' 

'Mend them.' 

'That would be a step backward.' 

' " The right one for defence !" father says.' 

'Father says, "The habit of the defensive paralyzes 
vnll."' 

'"Womanizes," he says, Carin. You quote him 
falsely, to shield the sex. Quite right. But my sister 
must not be tricky. Keep to the rules. You 're an 
exceptional woman, and it would be a good argument, 
if you were not in an exceptional position.' 

' Owain is the exceptional man, brother.' 

'My dear, after all, you have a husband.' 

'I have a brother, I have a friend, I have no — I am a 
man's wife and the mother of his child ; I am free, or 
husband would mean dungeon. Does my brother want 
an oath from me ? That I can give him.' 

'Conduct, yes; I couldn't doubt you,' said Chillon. 
'But "the world 's a flood at a dyke for women, and they 
must keep watch," you 've read.' 

'But Owain is not our enemy,' said Carinthia, in her 
deeper tones, expressive of conviction, and not thereby 
assuring to hear. 'He is a man with men, a child with 
women. His Rebecca could describe him ; I laugh now 
at some of her sayings of him; I see her mouth, so 
tenderly comical over her big "simpleton," she called 
him, and loved him so.' 

The gentleman appeared on the waste land above the 
house. His very loose black suit and a peculiar roU of 
his gait likened him to a mourning boatswain who was 
jolly. In Lord Levellier's workshop his remarks were 
to the point. ChUlon's powders for guns and blasting 
interested him, and he proposed to ride over from 
Barlings to witness a test of them. 

'You are staying at Barlings?' Chillon said. 



380 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Yes; now Carinthia is at Esslemont,' he replied, 
astoundingly the simpleton. 

His conversation was practical and shrewd on the 
walk with Chillon and Carinthia down to Esslemont : 
evidently he was a man well armed to encounter the 
world; social usages might be taught him. Chillon 
gained a round view of the worthy simple fellow, unlikely 
to turn out impracticable, for he talked such good sense 
upon matters of business. 

Carinthia saw her brother tickled and interested. A 
feather moved her. Full of tears though she was, her 
heart lay open to the heavens and their kind, small, 
wholesome gifts. Her happiness in the walk with her 
brother and her friend — the pair of them united by her 
companionship, both of them showing they counted 
her their comrade — was the nearest to the radiant day 
before she landed on an island, and imagined happiness 
grew here, and found it to be gilt thorns, loud mockery. 
A shaving North-easter tore the scream from hedges 
and the roar from copses under a faceless breadth of 
sky, and she said, as they turned into Esslemont Park 
lane : ' We have had one of our old walks to-day, Chillon ! ' 

'You used to walk together long walks over in your 
own country,' said Mr. Wythan. 

'Yes, Owain, we did, and my brother never knew me 
tired.' 

'Never knew you confess to it,' said Chillon, as he 
swallowed the name on her lips. 

'Walking was flying over there, brother.' 

'Say once or twice in Wales, too,' Mr. Wythan begged 
of her. 

'Wales reminded. Yes, Owain, I shall not forget 
Wales, Welsh people. Mr. Woodseer says they have 
the three-stringed harp in their breasts, and one string 
is always humming, whether you pull it or no.' 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 381 

'That's love of country! that's their love of wild 
Wales, Carinthia.' 

There was a quiet interrogation in Chillon's turn of 
the head at this fervent simpleton. 

'I love them for that hum,' said she. 'It joins one 
in me.' 

'Call to them any day, they are up, ready to march !' 

'Oh, dear souls!' Carinthia said. 

Her breath drew in. 

The three were dumb. They saw Lord Fleetwood 
standing in the park gateway. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 

The earl's easy grace of manner was a ceremonial mantle 
on him as he grasped the situation in a look. He bent 
with deferential familiarity to his countess, exactly 
toning the degree of difference which befitted a salute 
to the two gentlemen, amiable or hostile. 

'There and back?' he said, and conveyed a compli- 
ment to Carinthia's pedestrian vigour in the wary smile 
which can be recalled for a snub. 

She replied: 'We have walked the distance, my 
lord.' 

Her smile was the braced one of an untired stepper. 

'A cold wind for you.' 

'We walked fast.' 

She compelled him to take her in the plural, thoughr 
he addressed her separately, but her tones had their 
music. 
^ 'Your brother, Captain Kirby-Levellier, I believe?' 



382 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'My brother is not of the army now, my lord.' 

She waved her hand for Madge to conduct donkey and 
baby to the house. He noticed. He was unruffled. 

The form of amenity expected from her, in relation 
to her brother, was not exhibited. She might perhaps 
be feeling herself awkward at introductions, and had 
to be excused. 

'I beg,' he said, and motioned to Chillon the way 
of welcome into the park, saw the fixed figure, and 
passed over the unspoken refusal, with a remark to 
Mr. Wythan: 'At Barlings, I presume?' 

'My tent is pitched there,' was the answer. 

'Good-bye, my brother,' said Carinthia. 

Chillon folded his arms round her. 'God bless you, 
d^ar love. Let me see you soon.' He murmured : 
'You can protect yourself.' 

' Fear nothing for me, dearest.' 

She kissed her brother's cheek. The strain of her 
spread fingers on his shoulder signified no dread at her 
being left behind. 

Strangers observing their embrace would have vowed 
that the pair were brother and sister, and of a notable 
stock. 

'I will walk with you to Croridge again when you 
send word you are willing to go; and so, good-bye, 
Owain,' she said. 

She gave her hand; frankly she pressed the Welsh- 
man's, he not a whit behind her in frankness. 

Fleetwood had a skimming sense of a drop upon a 
funny, whirly world. He kept from giddiness, though 
the whirl had lasted since he beheld the form of a wild 
forest girl, dancing, as it struck him now, over an abyss, 
on the plumed shoot of a stumpy tree. 

Ay, and she danced at the ducal schloss ; — she mounted 
his coach like a witch of the Alps up crags; — she was 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LOftD 383 

beside him pelting to the vale under a leaden South- 
wester; — ^she sat solitary by the fireside in the room 
of the inn. 

Veil it. He consented to the veil he could not lift. 
He had not even power to try, and his heart thumped. 

London's Whitechapel Countess glided before him 
like a candle in the fog. 

He had accused her as the creature destroying Romance. 
Was it gold in place of gilding, absolute upper human 
life that the ridiculous object at his heels over London 
proposed instead of delirious brilliancies, drunken gallops, 
poison-syrups, — ^puffs of a young man's vapours? 

There was Madge and the donkey basket-trap ahead 
on the road to the house, bearing proof of the veiled 
had-been: signification of a might-have-been. Why 
not a possible might-be? Still the might-be might be. 
Looking on this shaven earth and sky of March with the 
wrathful wind at work, we know that it is not the end : 
a day follows for the world. But looking on those blown 
black fimeral sprays, and the wrinkled chill waters, and 
the stare of the Esslemont house-windows, it has an 
appearance of the last lines of our written voliune : dead 
Finis. Not death; fouler, the man alive seeing himself 
stretched helpless for the altering of his deeds ; a coffin 
carrying him ; the fatal white-headed sacerdotal official 
intoning his aims on the march to front, the drear craped 
files of the liveried, salaried mourners over his failure, 
trooping at his heels. 

Frontward was the small lake's grey water, rearward 
an avenue of limes. 

But the man alive, if but an inch alive, can so take 
his life in his clutch, that he does alter, cleanse, recast 
his deeds: — ^it is known; priests proclaim it, philos- 
ophers admit it. 

Can he lay his clutch on another's life, and wring out 



384 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the tears shed, the stains of the bruises, recollection of 
the wrongs? 

Contemplate the wounded creature as a woman. 
Then, what sort of woman is she? She was once under 
a fascination — ^ludicrously, painfully, intensely like a 
sort of tipsy poor puss, the trapped hare tossed to her 
serpent; and thoroughly reassured for a few caresses, 
quite at home, caged and at home; and all abloom 
with pretty ways, modest pranks, innocent fondlings. 
Gobbled, my dear ! 

It is the doom of the innocents, a natural fate. Smother 
the creature with kindness again, show we are a point 
in the scale above that old coiler snake — which broke no 
bones, bit not so very deep ; — she will be, she ought to 
be, the woman she was. That is, if she was then sincere, 
a dose of kindness should operate happily to restore the 
honeymoony fancies, hopes, trusts, dreams, all back, as 
before the honeymoon showed the silver crook and 
shadowy hag's back of a decaying crescent. And true 
enough, the poor girl's young crescent of a honeymoon 
went down sickly-yellow rather early. It can be re- 
newed. She really was at that time rather romantic. 
She became absurd. Romance is in her, nevertheless. 
She is a woman of mettle: she is probably expecting 
to be wooed. One makes a hash of yesterday's left 
dish, but she may know no better. 'Add a pickle,' as 
Chummy Potts used to say. The dish is rendered 
savoury by a slight expenditure of attentions, just a 
dab of intimated soft stuff. 

'Pleasant to see you established here, if you find the 
place agreeable,' he said. 

She was kissing her hand to her brother, all her eyes 
for him — or for the couple; and they were hidden by 
the park lodge before she replied: 'It is an admired, 
beautiful place.' 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 385 

'I came/ said he, 'to have your assurance that it 
suits you.' 

'I thank you, my lord.' 

'"My lord" would like a short rest, Carinthia.' 

She seemed placidly acquiescing. 'You have seen the 
boy?' 

'Twice to-day. We were having a conversation just 
now.' 

'We think him very intelligent.' 

'Lady Arpington tells me you do the honours here 
excellently.' 

' She is good to me.' 

'Praises the mother's management of the young one. 
John Edward: Edward for call-name. Madge boasts 
his power for sleeping.' 

'He gives little trouble.' 

'And babes repay us ! We learn from small things. 
Out of the mouth of babes wisdom? Well, their habits 
show the wisdom of the mother. A good mother! 
There 's no higher title. A lady of my acquaintance 
bids fair to win it, they say.' 

Carinthia looked in simplicity, saw herself, and said: 
'If a mother may rear her boy till he must go to school, 
she is rewarded for all she does.' 

'Ah,' said he, nodding over her mania of the per- 
petual suspicion. 'Leddings, Queeney, the servants 
here, run smoothly?' 

'They do : they are happy in serving.' 

'You see, we English are not such bad fellows when 
we 're known. The climate to-day, for example, is 
rather trying.' 

'I miss colours most in England,' said Carinthia. 
'I like the winds. Now and then we have a day to 
remember.' 

'We 're to be "the artist of the day," Gower Woodseer 



386 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

says, and we get an attachment to the dreariest; we 
are to study "small variations of the commonplace" 
— dear me! But he may be right. The "sky of lead 
and scraped lead" over those lines, he points out; and 
it 's not a bad trick for reconciling us to gloomy English 
weather. You take lessons from him ? ' 

'I can always learn from him,' said Carinthia. 

Fleetwood depicted his plodding Gower at the tussle 
with account-books. She was earnest in sympathy; 
not awake to the comical; dull as the clouds, dull as 
the discourse. Yet he throbbed for being near her: 
took impression of her figure, the play of her features, 
the carriage of her body. 

He was shut from her eyes. The clear brown eyes 
gave exchange of looks; less of admission than her 
honest maid's. 

Madge and the miracle infant awaited them on the 
terrace. For so foreign did the mother make herself 
to him, that the appearance of the child, their own 
child, here between them, was next to miraculous ; and 
the mother, who might well have been the most aston- 
ished, had transparently not an idea beyond the verified 
palpable lump of young life she lifted in her arms out 
of the arms of Madge, maternally at home with its 
presence on earth. 

Demonstrably a fine specimen, a promising youngster. 
The father was allowed to inspect him. This was his 
heir: a little fellow of smiles, features, puckered brows 
of inquiry; seeming a thing made already, and active 
on his own account. 

' Do people see likenesses ? ' he asked. 

'Some do,' said the mother. 

'You?' 

She was constrained to give answer. 'There is a 
likeness to my father, I have thought.' 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 387 

There 's a dotage of idolatrous daughters, he could 
have retorted; and his gaze was a polite offer to hum- 
drum reconcilement, if it pleased her. 

She sent the child up the steps. 

'Do you come in, my lord?' 

'The house is yours, my lady.' 

'I cannot feel it mine.' 

'You are the mistress to invite or exclude.' 

'I am ready to go in a few hours for a small income 
of money, for my child and me.' 

'Our child.' 

'Yes.' 

'It is our child.' 

'It is.' 

'Any sum you choose to name. But where would 
you live?' 

' Near my brother I would live.' 

'Three thousand a year for pin-money, or more, are 
at your disposal. Stay here, I beg. You have only to 
notify your wants. And we '11 talk familiarly now, as 
we 're together. Can I be of aid to your brother? Tell 
me, pray. I am disposed in every way to subscribe to 
your wishes. Pray, speak, speak out.' 

So the earl said. He had to force his familiar tone 
against the rebuke of her grandeur of stature; and he 
was for inducing her to deliver her mind, that the moun- 
tain girl's feebleness in speech might reinstate him. 

She rejoined unhesitatingly: 'My brother would not 
accept aid from you, my lord. I will take no money 
more than for my needs.' 

' You spoke of certain sums down in Wales.' 

'I did then.' Her voice was dead. 

'Ah ! You must be feeling the cold North- wind here.' 

'I do not. You may feel the cold, my lord. WUl 
you enter the house?' 



388 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Do you invite me?' 

'The house is your own.' 

' Will the mistress of the house honour me so far ? ' 

' I am not the mistress of the house, my lord.' 

'You refuse, Carinthia?' 

'I would keep from using those words. I have no 
right to refuse the entry of the house to you.' 

'If I come in?' 

'I guard my rooms.' 

She had been awake, then, to the thrusting and parry- 
ing behind masked language. 

' Good. You are quite decided, I may suppose.' 

'I will leave them when I have a littlie money, or when 
I know of how I may earn some.' 

'The Countess of Fleetwood earning a little money?' 

'I can put aside your title, my lord.' 

'No, you can't put it aside while the man with the 
title lives, not even if you 're running off in earnest, 
under a dozen Welsh names. Why should you desire to 
do it? The title entitles you to the command of half 
my possessions. As to the house, don't be alarmed; 
you will not have to guard your rooms. The extra- 
ordinary wild animal you — ^the impression may have 
been produced; I see, I see. If I were in the house, I 
should not be rageing at your doors; and it is not my 
intention to enter the house. That is, not by right of 
ownership. You have my word.' 

He bowed to her, and walked to the stables. 

She had the art of extracting his word from him. 
The word given, she went off with it, disengaged mis- 
tress of Esslemont. And she might have the place for 
residence, but a decent courtesy required that she should 
remain at the portico until he was out of sight. She 
was the first out of sight, rather insolently. 

She returned him without comment the spell he had 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 389 

cast on her, and he was left to estimate the value of a 
dinted piece of metal not in the currency, stamped false 
coin. An odd sense of impoverishment chUled him. 
Chilly weather was afflicting the whole country, he was 
reminded, and he paced about hurriedly until his horses 
were in the shafts. After all, his driving away would 
be much more expected of him than a stay at the house 
where the Whitechapel Countess resided, chill, dry, talk- 
ing the language of early Exercises in English, suitable 
to her Welshmen. Did she 'Owain' them every one? 

As he whipped along the drive and left that glassy 
stare of Esslemont behind him, there came a slap of 
a reflection: — here, on the box of this coach, the bride 
just bursting her sheath sat, and was like warm wax to 
take impressions. She was like hard stone to retain 
them, pretty evidently. Like women the world over, 
she thinks only of her side of the case. Men disdain to 
plead theirs. Now money is offered her, she declines 
it. Formerly, she made it the principal subject of her 
conversation. 

Turn the mind to something brighter. Fleetwood 
strung himself to do so, and became agitated by the 
question whether the bride sat to left or to right of him 
when the South-wester blew — a wind altogether prefer- 
able to the chill North-east. Women, when they are no 
longer warm, are colder than the deadliest catarrh wind 
scything across these islands. Of course she sat to left 
of him. In the line of the main road, he remembered 
a look he dropped on her, a look over his left shoulder. 

She never had a wooing: she wanted it, had a kind 
of right to it, or the show of it. How to begin? But 
was she worth an effort? Turn to something brighter. 
Religion is the one refuge from women, Feltre says : — 
his Roman Catholic recipe. The old shoemaker, Mr. 
\yoodseer, hauls women into his religion, and purifies 



390 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

them by the process, — ^fancies he does. He gets them 
to wear an air. Old Gower, too, has his ReUgion of 
Nature, with free admission for women, whom he wor- 
ships in similes, running away from them, leering sheep- 
ishly. No, Feltre's rigid monastic system is the sole 
haven. And what a world, where we have no safety 
except in renouncing it! The two sexes created to 
devour one another must abjure their sex before they 
gain ' The Peace,' as Feltre says, impressively, if absurdly. 
He will end a monk if he has the courage of his logic. 
A queer spectacle — an English nobleman a shaven monk ! 

Fleetwood shuddered. We are twisted face about to 
discover our being saved by women from that horror — 
the joining the ranks of the nasal friars. By what 
women? Bacchante, clearly, if the wife we have is a 
North-easter to wither us, blood, bone, and soul. 

He was hungry; he waxed furious with the woman 
who had flung him out upon the roads. He was thirsty 
as well. The brightest something to refresh his thoughts 
grew and glowed in the form of a shiny table, bearing 
tasty dishes, old wines; at an inn or anywhere. But, 
out of London, an English inn to furnish the dishes 
and the wines for a civilized and self-respecting man is 
hard to seek, as difficult to find as a perfect skeleton of 
an extinct species. The earl's breast howled derision of 
his pursuit when he drew up at the] sign of the Royal 
Sovereign, in the dusky hour, and handed himself des- 
perately to Mrs. Rundles' mercy. 

He could not wait for a dinner, so his eating was 
cold meat. Warned by a sip, that his drinking, if he 
drank, was to be an excursion in chemical acids, the 
virtues of an abstainer served for his consolation. Toler- 
ant of tobacco, although he did not smoke, he fronted 
the fire, envying Gower Woodseer the contemplative 
pipe, which for half a dozen puffs wafted him to bracing 



BETWEEN CARINTHIA AND HER LORD 391 

deserts, or primaeval forests, or old highways with the 
swallow thoughts above him, down the Past, into the 
Future. A pipe is pleasant dreams at command. A 
pipe is the concrete form of philosophy. Why, then, a 
pipe is the alternative of a friar's frock for an escape from 
women. But if one does not smoke ! . . . Here and 
there a man is visibly in the eyes of all men cursed : let 
him be blest by Fortune ; let him be handsome, healthy, 
wealthy, courted, he is cursed. 

Fleetwood lay that night beneath the roof of the 
Royal Sovereign. Sleep is life's legitimate mate. It 
will treat us at times as the faithless wife, who becomes 
a harrying beast, behaves to her lord. He had no sleep. 
Having put out his candle, an idea took hold of him, 
and he jimiped up to light it again and verify the idea 
that this room ... He left the bed and strode round 
it, going in the guise of an urgent somnambulist, or 
ghost bearing burden of an imperfectly remembered 
mission. This was the room. 

Reason and cold together overcame his iUogical 
scruples to lie down on that bed soliciting the sleep 
desired. He lay and groaned, lay and rolled. All 
night the Naval Monarch with the loose cheeks and 
jelly smile of the swinging sign-board creaked. Flaws 
of the North-easter swung and banged him. He creaked 
high, in complaint, — low, in some partial contentment. 
There was piping of his boatswain, shrill piping — shrieks 
of the whistle. How many nights had that most ill-fated 
of brides lain listening to the idiotic uproar ! It excused 
a touch of craziness. But how many ? Not one, not two, 
ten, twenty : — count, count to the exact number of 
nights the unhappy girl must have heard those mad 
colloquies of the hurricane boatswain and the chirpy 
king. By heaven! Whitechapel, after one night of it, 
beckons as a haven of grace. 



392 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 

A DIP INTO THE SPKING's WATEBS 

The night Lord Fleetwood had passed cured him of 
the wound Carinthia dealt, with her blunt, defensive 
phrase and her Welshman. Seated on his coach-box, 
he turned for a look the back way leading to Esslemont, 
and saw rosed crag and mountain forest rather than the 
soft undulations of parkland pushing green meadows 
or brown copse up the slopes under his eye. She had 
never been courted : she deserved a siege. She was a 
daughter of the racy highlands. And she, who could 
say to her husband, 'I guard my rooms,' without sign 
of the stage-face of scorn or defiance or flinging of the 
glove, she would have to be captured by siege, it was 
clear. She wore an aspect of the confident fortress, which 
neither challenges nor cries to treat, but commands 
respect. How did she accomplish this miracle of com- 
manding respect after such a string of somersaults before 
the London world? 

He had to drive North-westward : his word was pledged 
to one of his donkey Ixionides — Abrane, he recollected — 
to be a witness at some contemptible exhibition of the 
fellow's muscular skill: a match to punt against a 
Thames waterman this time. Odd how it should come 
about that the giving of his word forced him now to 
drive away from the woman once causing him to curse 
his luck as the prisoner of his word ! However, there 
was to be an end of it soon — a change; change as re- 
markable as Harry Monmouth's at the touching of his 
crown. Though in these days, in our jog-trot Old 
England, half a step on the road to greatness is the 



A DIP INTO THE SPRING'S WATERS 393 

utmost we can hop; and all England jeers at the man 
attempting it. He caps himself with this or that one of 
their titles. For it is not the popular thing among 
Englishmen. Their hero, when they have done their 
fighting, is the wealthy patron of Sport. What sort 
of creatures are his comrades? But he cannot have 
comrades unless he is on the level of them. Yet let 
him be never so high above them, they charge him and 
point him as a piece of cannon ; assenting to the flatteries 
they puff into him, he is their engine. 'The idol of the 
hour is the mob's wooden puppet, and the doing of the 
popular thing seed of no harvest,' Gower Woodseer says, 
moderately well, snuflSng incense of his happy delivery. 
Not to be the idol, to have an aim of our own, there 
lies the truer pride, if we intend respect of ourselves. 

The Mr. Pulpit young men have in them, until their 
habits have fretted him out, was directing Lord Fleet- 
wood's meditations upon the errors of the general man, 
as a cover for lateral references to his hitherto erratic 
career : not much worse than a swerving from the right 
line, which now seemed the desirable road for him, and 
had previously seemed so stale, so repulsive. He was, 
of course, only half-conscious of his pulpitizing ; he 
fancied the serious vein of his thoughts attributable 
to a tumbled night. Nevertheless, he had the question 
whether that woman — poor girl ! — was influencing his 
thoughts. For in a moment, the very word 'respect' 
pitched him upon her character; to see it a character 
that emerged beneath obstacles, and overcame ridicule, 
won suffrages, won a reluctant husband's admiration, 
pricked him from distaste to what might really be taste 
for her companionship, or something more alarming to 
contemplate in the possibilities, — thirst for it. He 
was driving away, and he longed to turn back. He 
did respect her character: a character angular as her 



394 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

features were, and similarly harmonious, splendid in 
action. 

Respect seems a coolish form of tribute from a man 
who admires. He had to say that he did not vastly 
respect beautiful women. Have they all the poetry? 
Know them well, and where is it? 

The pupil of Gower Woodseer asked himself to specify 
the poetry of woman. She is weak and inferior, but 
she has it; civilized men acknowledge it; and it is 
independent, or may be beside her gift of beauty. She 
has more of it than we have. Then name it. 

Well, the flowers of the field are frail things. Pluck 
one, and you have in your hand the frailest of things. 
But reach through the charm of colour and the tale of 
its beneficence in frailty to the poetry of the flower, 
and secret of the myriad stars will fail to tell you more 
than does that poetry of your little flower. Lord Feltre, 
at the heels of St. Francis, agrees in that. 

Well, then, much so with the flowers of the two hands 
and feet. We do homage to those ungathered, and 
reserve our supremacy ; the gathered, no longer courted, 
are the test of men. When the embraced woman breathes 
respect into us, she wings a beast. We have from her 
the poetry of the tasted life; excelling any garden-gate 
or threshold lyrics called forth by purest early bloom. 
Respect for her person, for her bearing, for her character : 
that is in the sum a beauty plastic to the civilized young 
man's needs and cravings, as queenly physical loveliness 
has never so fully been to him along the walks of life, and 
as ideal worships cannot be for our nerving contentment. 
She brings us to the union of body and soul; as good 
as to say, earth and heaven. Secret of all human as- 
pirations, the ripeness of the creeds, is there; and the 
passion for the woman desired has no poetry equalling 
that of the embraced respected woman. 



A DIP INTO THE SPRING'S WATERS 395 

Something of this went reeUng through Fleetwood; 
positively to this end; accompanied the while with 
flashes of Carinthia, her figure across the varied scenes. 
Ridicule vanished. Could it ever have existed? If 
London had witnessed the scene down in Wales, London 
never again would laugh at the Whitechapel Countess. 

He laughed amicably at himself for the citizen sobriety 
of these views, on the part of a nobleman whose airy 
pleasure it had been to flout your sober citizens, with 
their toad-at-the-hop notions, their walled conceptions, 
their drab propriety; and felt a petted familiar within 
him dub all pulpitizing, poetizing drivellers with one of 
those detested titles, invented by the English as a cor- 
rective of their maladies or the excesses of their higher 
moods. But, reflection telling him that he had done 
injury to Carinthia — ^had inflicted the sorest of the 
wounds a young woman a new bride can endure, he 
nodded acquiescence to the charge of misbehaviour, 
and muzzled the cynic. 

As a consequence, the truisms flooded him and he 
lost his guard against our native prosiness. Must we 
be prosy if we are profoundly, imcynically sincere? 
Do but listen to the stuff we are maundering ! Extracts 
of poetry, if one could hit upon the right, would serve 
for a relief and a lift when we are in this ditch of the 
serious vein. Gower Woodseer would have any num- 
ber handy to spout. Or Felter: — your convinced and 
fervent Catholic has quotations of images and Latin 
hymns to his Madonna or one of his Catherines, by the 
dozen, to suit an enthusiastic fit of the worship of some 
fair woman, and elude the prosy in commending her. 
Feltre is enviable there. As he says, it is natural to 
worship, and only the Catholics can prostrate them- 
selves with dignity. That is matter for thought. Stir 
ws to the depths, it will be found that we are poor soupy 



396 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

stuff. For estimable language, and the preservation 
of self-respect in prostration, we want ritual, ceremonial 
elevation of the visible object for the soul's adoring 
through the eye. So may we escape our foul or empty 
selves. 

Lord Feltre seemed to Fleetwood at the moment a 
more serviceable friend than Gower Woodseer preach- 
ing 'Nature' — an abstraction, not inspiring to the 
devout poetic or giving us the tongue above our native 
prosy. He was raised and refreshed by recollected lines 
of a Gregorian chant he and Feltre had heard together 
under the roof of that Alpine monastery. 

— The Dame collapses. There is little doubt of her 
having the world to back her in protest against all fine 
filmy work of the exploration of a young man's intricacies 
or cavities. Let her not forget the fact she has frequently 
impressed upon us, that he was 'the very wealthiest 
nobleman of his time,' instructive to touch inside as 
well as out. He had his share of brains, too. And also 
she should be mindful of an alteration of English taste 
likely of occurrence in the remote posterity she vows 
she is for addressing after she has exhausted our present 
hungry generation. The posterity signified will, it is 
calculable, it is next to certain, have studied a developed 
human nature so far as to know the composition of it 
a not unequal mixture of the philosophic and the ro- 
mantic, and that credible realism is to be produced solely 
by an involvement of those two elements. Or else, she 
may be sure, her story once out of the mouth, goes off 
dead as the spirits of a vapour that has performed the 
stroke of energy. She holds a surprising event in the 
history of 'the wealthiest nobleman of his time,' and 
she would launch it upon readers unprepared, with the 
reference to our mysterious and unfathomable nature 
for an explanation of the stunning crack on the skull. 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 397 

This may do now. It will not do ten centuries hence. 
For the English, too, are a changeable people in the sight 
of ulterior Time. 

One of the good pieces of work Lord Fleetwood could 
suppose he had performed was recalled to him near 
the turning to his mews by the handsome Piccadilly 
fruit-shop. He jumped to the pavement, merely to 
gratify Sarah Winch with a word of Madge; and being 
emotional just then, he spoke of Lady Fleetwood's 
attachment to Madge ; and he looked at Sarah straight, 
he dropped his voice: 'She said, you remember, you 
were sisters to her.' 

Sarah remembered that he had spoken of it before. 
Two brilliant drops from the deepest of woman's ready 
well stood in her eyes. 

He carried the light of them away. They were such 
pure jewels of tribute to the Carinthia now seen by 
him as worshipping souls of devotees offer to their 
Madonna for her most glorious adornment. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 

THE BED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 

Desiring loneliness or else Lord Feltre's company, 
Fleetwood had to grant a deferred audience at hoEie 
to various tradesmen, absurdly fussy about having the 
house of his leased estate of Calesford furnished com- 
plete and habitable on the very day stipulated by his 
peremptory orders that the place should be both habit- 
able and hospitable. They were right, they were ex- 
cused; grand entertainments of London had been 
projected, and he fell into the weariful business with 



398 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

them, thinking of Henrietta's insatiable appetite for 
the pleasures. He had taken the lease of this burden- 
some Calesford, at an eight-miles' drive from the North- 
west of town, to gratify the devouring woman's taste : 
which was, to have all the luxuries of the town in a frame- 
work of country scenery. 

Gower Woodseer and he were dining together in the 
evening. The circumstance was just endurable, but 
Gower would play the secretary, and doggedly sub- 
jected him to hear a statement of the woeful plight 
of Countess Livia's affairs. Gower, commissioned to 
examine them, remarked: 'If we have all the figures!' 

'If we could stop the bleeding!' Fleetwood replied. 
'Come to the Opera to-night; I promised. I promised 
Abrane for to-morrow. There 's no end to it. This 
gambling mania 's a flux. Not one of them except 
your old enemy, Corby, keeps clear of it ; and they 're 
at him for subsidies, as they are at me, and would be 
at you or any passenger on the road suspected of a purse. 
Corby shines among them.' 

That was heavy judgement enough, Gower thought. 
No allusion to Esslemont ensued. The earl ate sparely, 
and silently for the most part. 

He was warmed a little at the Opera by hearing Henri- 
etta's honest raptures over her Columelli in the Pirata. 
But Lord Brailstone sat behind her, and their exchange 
of ecstasies upon the tattered pathos of 

E il mio tradito amor, 

was not moderately offensive. 

His countenance in Henrietta's presence had to be 
studied and interpreted by Livia. Why did it darken? 
The demurest of fuliginous intriguers argued that Brail- 
stone was but doing the spiriting required of him, and 
would have to pay the penalty unrewarded, let him 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 399 

Italianize as much as he pleased. Not many months 
longer, and there would be the bit of an outburst, the 
whiff of scandal, perhaps a shot, and the rupture of an 
improvident alliance, followed by Henrietta's free hand 
to the moody young earl, who would then have posses- 
sion of the only woman he could ever love : and at no 
cost. Jealousy of a man like Brailstone, however in- 
fatuated the man, was too foolish. He must perceive 
how matters were tending? The die-away and eye- 
balls-at-the-ceiling of a pair of fanatics -per la musica 
might irritate a husband, but the lover should read and 
know. Giddy as the beautiful creature deprived of her 
natural aliment seems in her excuseable hunger for it, 
she has learnt her lesson, she is not a reeling libertine. 

BraUstone peered through his eyelashes at the same 
shadow of a frown where no frown sat on his friend's 
brows. Displeasure was manifest, and why? Fleet- 
wood had given him the dispossessing shrug of the man 
out of the run, and the hint of the tip for winning, with 
the aid of operatic arias; and though he was in Fleet- 
wood's books ever since the prize-fight, neither Fleet- 
wood nor the husband nor any skittishness of a timorous 
wife could stop the pursuer bent to capture the fairest 
and most inflaming woman of her day. 

'I prefer your stage Columelli,' Fleetwood said. 

'I come from exile!' said Henrietta; and her plea 
in excuse of ecstatics wrote her down as confessedly 
treasonable to the place quitted. 

Ambrose Mallard entered the box, beholding only 
his goddess Livia. Their eyebrows and inaudible lips 
conversed eloquently. He retired like a trumped card 
on the appearance of M. de St. Ombre. The courtly 
Frenchman won the ladies to join him in whipping the 
cream of the world for five minutes, and passed out 
before his flavour was exhausted. Brailstone took his 



400 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

lesson and departed, to spy at them from other boxes 
and heave an inflated shirt-front. Young Cressett, the 
bottle of effervescence, dashed in, and for him Livia's 
face was motherly. He rattled a tale of the highway 
robbery of Sir Meeson Corby on one of his Yorkshire 
moors. The picture of the little baronet arose upon 
the narration, and it amused. Chumley Potts came 
to 'confirm every item,' as he said. 'Plucked Corby 
clean. Pistol at his head. Quite old style. Time, 
ten P.M. Suspects Great Britain, King, Lords and 
Commons, and buttons twenty times tighter. Brosey 
Mallard down on him for a few fighting men. Perfect 
answer to Brosey.' 

'Mr. Mallard did not mention the robbery,'. Henrietta 
remarked. 

'Feared to shock: Corby such a favoured swain,' 
Potts accounted for the omission. 

'Brosey spilling last night?' Fleetwood asked. 

'At the palazzo, we were,' said Potts. 'Luck pretty 
fair first off. Brosey did his trick, and away and away 
and away went he! More old Brosey wins, the wiser 
he gets. I stayed.' He swung to Gower : 'Don't drink 
dry Sillery after two a.m. You read me?' 

'Egyptian, but decipherable,' said Gower. 

The rising of the curtain drew his habitual groan 
from Potts, and he fled to collogue with the goodly 
number of honest fellows in the house of music who 
detested 'squallery.' Most of these afflicted pilgrims 
to the London conservatory were engaged upon the 
business of the Goddess richly inspiring the Heliconian 
choir, but rendering the fountain-waters heady. Here 
they had to be, if they would enjoy the spectacle of 
London's biggest and choicest bouquet : and in them, 
too, there was an unattached air during Potts' cooling 
discourse of turf and tables, except when he tossed 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 401 

them a morsel of tragedy, or the latest joke, not yet 
past the full gallop on its course. Their sparkle was 
transient; woman had them fast. Compelled to think 
of them as not serious members of our group, he assisted 
at the crush-room exit, and the happy riddance of the 
beautiful cousins dedicated to the merry London mid- 
nights' further pastures. 

Fleetwood's word was extracted, that he would visit 
the 'palazzo' within a couple of hours. 

Potts exclaimed: 'Good. You promise. Hang me, 
if I don't think it 's the only certain thing a man, can 
depend upon in this' world.' 

He left the earl and Gower Woodseer to their lunatic 
talk. He still had his ideas about the association of 
the pair. 'Hard-headed player of his own game, that 
Woodseer, spite of his Mumbo-Jumbo-oracle kind of 
talk.' 

Mallard's turn of luck downward to the deadly drop 
had come under Potts' first inspection of the table. 
Admiring his friend's audacity, deploring his rashness, 
reproving his persistency, Potts allowed his verdict 
to go by results ; for it was clear that Mallard and Fortune 
were in opposition. Something like real awe of the 
tremendous encounter kept him from a plunge or a bet. 
Mallard had got the vertigo, he reported the gambler's 
launch on dementedness to the earl. Gower's less ex- 
perienced optics perceived it. The plainly doomed 
duellist with the insensible Black Goddess offered her all 
the advantages of the Immortals challenged by flesh. 
His effort to smile was a line cut awry in wood ; his big 
eyes were those of a cat for sociability ; he looked ciu-sed, 
and still he wore the smile. In this condition, the 
gambler runs to emptiness of everything he has, his money, 
his heart, his brains, like a coal-truck on the incline of 
the raUs to a collier. 



402 THE AMAZING MAERIAGE 

Mallard applied to the earl for a loan of fifty guineas. 
He had them and lost them, and he came, not begging, 
blustering for a second supply; quite in the wrong 
tone, Potts knew. Fleetwood said : ' Back it with 
pistols, Brosey'; and, as Potts related subsequently, 
' Old Brosey had the look of a staked horse.' 

Fortune and he having now closed the struggle, per- 
force of his total disarmament, he regained the wits we 
forfeit when we engage her. He said to his friend 
Chummy: 'Abrane to-morrow? Ah, yes, punts a 
Thames waterman. Start of — ^how many yards? Sun- 
bury- Walton : good reach. Course of two miles : 
Braney in good training. Straight business? I mayn't 
be there. But you, Chummy, you mind, old Chums, all 
cases of the kind, safest back the professional. Unless 
— you understand !' 

Fleetwood could not persuade Gower to join the 
party. The philosopher's pretext of much occupation 
masked a bashfully sentimental dislike of the flooding 
of quiet country places by the city's hordes. 'You 're 
right, right,' said Fleetwood, in sympathy, resigned to 
the prospect of despising his associates without a handy 
helper. He named Esslemont once, shot up a look at 
the sky, and glanced it Eastward. 

Three coaches were bound for Sunbury from a com- 
mon starting-point at nine of the morning. Lord Fleet- 
wood, Lord Brailstone, and Lord Simon Pitscrew were 
the whips. Two hours in advance of them, the earl's 
famous purveyors of picnic feasts bowled along to pitch 
the riverside tent and spread the tables. Our upper 
and lower London world reported the earl as out on 
another of his expeditions: and, say what we will, we 
must think kindly of a wealthy nobleman ever to the 
front to enliven the town's dusty eyes and increase Old 
England's reputation for pre-eminence in the Sports. 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 403 

He is the husband of the Whitechapel Countess — got 
himself into that mess; but whatever he does, he puts 
the stamp of style on it. He and the thing he sets 
his hand to, they 're neat, they 're finished, they 're 
fitted to trot together, and they 've a shining polish, 
natural, like a lily of the fields ; or say Nature and Art, 
like the coat of a thoroughbred led into the paddock 
by his groom, if you 're of that mind. 

Present at the start in Piccadilly, Gower took note 
of Lord Fleetwood's military promptitude to do the 
work he had no taste for, and envied the self-compres- 
sion which could assume so pleasant an air. He heard 
here and there crisp comments on his lordship's coach 
and horses and personal smartness; the word 'style,' 
which reflects handsomely on the connoisseur conferring 
it, and the question whether one of the ladies up there 
was the countess. His task of unearthing and disen- 
tangling the monetary affairs of 'one of the ladies' 
compelled the wish to belong to the party soon to be 
towering out of the grasp of bricks, and delightfully 
gay, spirited, quick for fun. A fellow, he thought, may 
brood upon Nature, but the real children of Nature — or 
she loves them best — are those who have the careless 
chatter, the ready laugh, bright welcome for a holiday. 
In catching the hour, we are surely the bloom of the 
hour? Why, yes, and no need to lose the rosy wisdom 
of the children when we wrap ourselves in the patched 
old cloak of the man's. 

On he went to his conclusions; but the Dame will 
have none of them, though here was a creature bent on 
masonry-work in his act of thinking, to build a travel- 
ler's-rest for thinkers behind him; while the volatile 
were simply breaking their bubbles. 

He was discontented all day, both with himself and 
the sentences he coined. A small street-boy at his run 



404 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

along the pavement nowhither, distanced him altogether 
in the race for the great Secret; precipitating the 
thought, that the conscious are too heavily handicapped. 
The unburdened unconscious win the goal. Ay, but 
they leave no legacy. So we must fret and stew, and 
look into ourselves, and seize the brute and scourge 
him, just to make one serviceable step forward: that 
is, utter a single sentence worth the pondering for 
guidance. 

Gower imagined the fun upon middle Thames : the 
vulcan face of Captain Abrane ; the cries of his backers, 
the smiles of the ladies, Lord Fleetwood's happy style 
in the teeth of tattle — an Aurora's chariot for over- 
riding it. One might hope, might almost see, that he 
was coming to his better senses on a certain subject. 
As for style overriding the worst of indignities, has not 
Scotia given her poet to the slack dependant of the 
gallows-tree, who so rantingly played his jig and wheeled 
it round in the shadow of that institution? Style was 
his, he hit on the right style to top the situation, and 
perpetually will he slip his head out of the noose to dance 
the poet's verse. 

In fact, style is the mantle of greatness ; and say that 
the greatness is beyond our reach, we may at least pray 
to have the mantle. 

Strangest of fancies, most unphilosophically, Gower 
conceived a woman's love as that which would bestow 
the gift upon a man so bare of it as he. Where was 
the woman? He embraced the idea of the sex, and 
found it resolving to a form of one. He stood humbly 
before the one, and she waned into swarms of her sisters. 
So did she charge him with the loving of her sex, not 
her. And could it be denied, if he wanted a woman's 
love just to give him a style? No, not that, but to make 
him feel proud of himself. That was the heart's way 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 405 

of telling him a secret in owning to a weakness. Within 
it the one he had thought of forthwith obtained her 
lodgement. He discovered this truth, in this round- 
about way, and knew it a truth by the warm fireside glow 
the contemplation of her cast over him. 

Dining alone, as he usually had to do, he was aston- 
ished to see the earl enter his room. 

'Ah, you always make the right choice!' Fleetwood 
said, and requested him to come to the library when he 
had done eating. 

Gower imagined an accident. A metallic ring was 
in the earl's voice. 

One further mouthful finished dinner, for Gower was 
anxious concerning the ladies. He joined the earl and 
asked. 

'Safe. Oh yes. We managed to keep it from them,' 
said Fleetwood. ' Nothing particular, perhaps you '11 
think. Poor devil of a fellow ! Father and mother 
alive, too ! He did it out of hearing, that 's one merit. 
Mallard : Ambrose Mallard. He has blown his brains 
out.' 

Seated plunged in the armchair, with stretched legs 
and eyes at the black fire-grate, Fleetwood told of the 
gathering under the tent, and Mallard seen, seen drink- 
ing champagne ; Mallard no longer seen, not missed. 

'He killed himself three fields off. He must have 
been careful to deaden the sound. Small pocket-pistol 
hardly big enough to — but anything serves. Couple 
of brats came running up to Chummy Potts: — "Gentle- 
man's body bloody in a ditch." Chummy came to me, 
and we went. Clean dead ; — in the mouth, pointed up ; 
hole through the top of the skull. We 're crockery ! 
crockery ! I had to keep Chummy standing. I couldn't 
bring him back to our party. We got help at a farm; 
tJjLe body lies there. And that 's not the worst. We 



406 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

found a letter to me in his pocket pencilled — ^his last 
five minutes. I don't see what he could have done 
except to go. I can't tell you more. I had to keep 
my face, rowiag and driving back. "But where is Mr. 
Potts? Where can Mr. Mallard be?" Queer sensation, 
to hear the ladies ask ! Give me your hand.' 

The earl squeezed Gower's hand an instant; and it 
was an act unknown for him to touch or bear a touch; 
it said a great deal. 

Late at night he mounted to Gower's room. The 
funeral of the day's impressions had not been skaken 
off. He kicked at it and sunk under it as his talk 
rambled. 'Add five thousand,' he commented, on the 
spread of Livia's papers over the table. ' I 've been 
having an hour with her. Two thousand more, she says. 
Better multiply by two and a half for a woman's con- 
fession. We have to trust to her for some of the debts 
of honour. See her in the morning. No one masters 
her but you. Mind, the first to be clear of must be 
St. Ombre. I like the fellow; but these Frenchmen — 
they don't spare women. Ambrose,' — the earl's eye- 
lids quivered. — 'Jealousy fired that shot. Quite ground- 
less. She 's cool as a marble Venus, as you said. Go 
straight from her house to Esslemont. I don't plead 
a case. Make the best account you can of it. Say — 
you may say my eyes are opened. I respect her. If 
you think that says little, say more. It can't mean 
more. Whatever the Countess of Fleetwood may think 
due to her, let her name it. Say my view of life, way 
of life, everything in me, has changed. I shall follow 
you. I don't expect to march over the ground. She 
has a heap to forgive. Her father owns or boasts, in 
that book of his Rose Mackrell lent me, he never forgave 
an injury.' 

Gower helped the quotation, rubbing his hands over 



RED WARNING FROM A SON OF VAPOUR 407 

it, for cover of his glee at the words he had been hear- 
ing. 'Never forgave an injury without a return blow 
for it. The blow forgives. Good for the enemy to get 
it. He called his hearty old Pagan custom "an action 
of the lungs" with him. And it 's not in nature for injuries 
to digest in us. They poison the blood, if we try. But 
then, there 's a manner of hitting back. It is not to go an 
inch beyond the exact measure, Captain Kirby warns us.' 

Fleetwood sighed down to a low groan. 

' Lord Feltre would have an answer for you. She 's 
a wife; and a wife hitting back is not a pleasant — 
well, petticoats make the difference. If she 's for amends, 
she shall exact them; and she may be hard to satisfy, 
she shall have her full revenge. Call it by any other 
term you like. I did her a wrong. I don't defend my- 
self ; it 's not yet in the Law Coxirts. I beg to wipe 
it out, rectify it — choose your phrase — ^to the very fullest. 
I look for the alliance with her to ... ' 

He sprang up and traversed the room: 'We're all 
guilty of mistakes at starting : I speak of men. Women 
are protected ; and if they 're not, there 's the convent 
for them, Feltre says. But a man has to live it on 
before the world ; and this life, with these flies of fellows 
... I fell into it in some way. Absolutely like the 
first bird I shot as a youngster, and stood over the battered 
head and bloody feathers, wondering! There was 
Ambrose Mallard — ^the same splintered bones — blood — 
come to his end; and for a woman; that woman the 
lady bearing the title of half-mother to me. God help 
me ! What are my sins ? She feels nothing, or about 
as much as the mortuary paragraph of the newspapers, 
for the dead man; and I have Ambrose Mallard's look 
at her and St. Ombre talking together, before he left the 
tent to cross the fields. Borrow, beg, or steal for money 
to play for her ! and not a glimpse of the winning post. 



408 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

St. Ombre 's a cool player ; that 's at the bottom of the 
story. He 's cool because play doesn't bite him, as it 
did Ambrose. I should say the other passion has never 
bitten him. And he 's alive and presentable ; Ambrose 
under a sheet, with Chummy Potts to watch. Chummy 
cried like a brat in the street for his lost mammy. I 
left him crying and sobbing. They have their feelings, 
these "children of vapour," as you call them. But how 
did I fall into the line with a set I despised? She had 
my opinion of her gamblers, and retorted that young 
Cressett's turn for the fling is my doing. I can't swear 
it 's not. There 's one of my sins. What 's to wipe 
them out ! She has a tender feeling for the boy ; con- 
fessed she wanted governing. Why, she 's young, in a 
way. She has that particular vice of play. She might 
be managed. Here 's a lesson for her ! Don't you 
think she might? The right man, — the man she can 
respect, fancy incorruptible! He must ler her see he 
has an eye for tricks. She 's not responsible for — his 
mad passion was the cause, cause of everything he did. 
The kind of woman to send the shaft. You called her 
"Diana seated." You said, "She doesn't hunt, she 
sits and lets fly her arrow." Well, she showed feeling 
for young Cressett, and her hit at me was an answer. 
It struck me on the mouth. But she 's an eternal 
anxiety. A man she respects! A man to govern her!' 
Fleetwood hurried his paces. ' I couldn't have allowed 
poor Ambrose. Besides, he had not a chance — never 
had in anything. It wants a head, wants the man who 
can say no to her. "The Reveller's Aurora," you 
called her. She has her beauty, yes. She respects you. 
I should be relieved — a load off me ! Tell her, all debts 
paid; fifty thousand invested, in her name and her 
husband's. Tell her, speak it, there 's my consent — if 
only the man to govern her ! She has it from me, but 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 409 

repeat it, as from me. That sum and her portion would 
make a fair income for the two. Reheved ? By heaven, 
what a relief ! Go early. Coach to Esslemont at eleven. 
Do my work there. I haven't to repeat my directions. 
I shall present myself two days after. I wish Lady 
Fleetwood to do the part of hostess at Calesford. Tell 
her I depute you to kiss my son for me. Now I leave 
you. Good-night. I shan't sleep. I remember your 
saying, "bad visions come under the eyelids." I shall 
keep mine open and read — ^read her father's book of the 
Maxims ; I generally find two or three at a dip to stimu- 
late. No wonder she venerates him. That sort of 
progenitor is your "permanent aristocracy." Hard 
enemy. She must have some of her mother in her, 
too. Abuse me to her, admit the justice of reproaches, 
but say, reason, good feeling — I needn't grind at it. Say 
I respect her. Advise her to swallow the injury — not 
intended for insult. I don't believe anything higher 
than respect can be offered to a woman. No defence of 
me to her, but I '11 tell you, that when I undertook to 
keep my word with her, I plainly said — never mind; 
good-night. If we meet in the morning, let this business 
rest until it 's done. I must drive to help poor Chums 
and see about the Inquest.' 

Fleetwood nodded from the doorway. Gower was 
left with humming ears. 



CHAPTER XL 

A. RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 

They went to their beds doomed to lie and roam as 
the solitaries of a sleepless night. They met next day 
like a couple emerging from sirocco deserts, indisposed 



410 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

for conversation or even short companionship, much of 
the night's dry tm-moil in their heads. Each would 
have preferred the sight of an enemy ; and it was hardly 
concealed by them, for they inclined to regard one 
another as the author of their infernal passage through 
the drear night's wilderness. 

Fleetwood was the civiller ; his immediate prospective 
duties being clear, however abhorrent. But he had 
inflicted a monstrous disturbance on the man he meant 
in his rash, decisive way to elevate, if not benefit. 
Gower's imagination, foreign to his desires and his 
projects, was playing juggler's tricks with him, drama- 
tizing upon hypotheses, which mounted in stages and 
could pretend to be soberly conceivable, assuming that 
the earl's wild hints overnight were a credible basis. 
He transported himself to his first view of the Countess 
Livia, the fountain of similes born of his prostrate adora- 
tion, close upon the invasion and capture of him by 
the combined liqueurs in the giddy Baden lights; and 
joining the Arabian magic in his breast at the time with 
the more magical reality now proposed as a sequel to it, 
he entered the land where dreams confess they are out- 
stripped by revelations. 

Yet it startled him to hear the earl say : ' You '11 
get audience at ten; I've arranged; make the most of 
the situation to her. I refuse to help. I foresee it 's 
the only way of solving this precious puzzle. You do 
me and every one of us a service past paying. Not a 
man of her set worth . . . She — but you '11 stop it ; 
no one else can. Of course, you 've had your breakfast. 
Off, and walk yourself into a talkative mood, as you 
tell me you do.' 

' One of the things I do when I 've nobody to hear,' 
said Gower, speculating whether the black sprite in 
this young nobleman was for sending him as a rod to 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 411 

scourge the lady: an ingenious device, that smelt of 
mediEBval Courts and tickled his humour. 

' Will she listen ? ' he said gravely. 

'She wUl listen; she has not to learn you admire. 
You admit she has helped to trim and polish, and the 
rest. She declares you 're incorruptible. There 's the 
ground open. I fling no single sovereign more into that 
quicksand, and I want not one word further on the 
subject. I follow you to Esslemont. Pray, go.' 

Fleetwood pushed into the hall. A footman was 
ordered to pack and deposit Mr. Woodseer's portman- 
teau at the coach-office. 

'The principal point is to make sure we have all the 
obligations,' Gower said. 

'You know the principal point,' said the earl. 'Re- 
lieve me.' 

He faced to the opening street door. Lord Feltre 
stood in the framing of it — a welcome sight. The 
'monastic man of fashion,' of Gower's phrase for him, 
entered, crooning condolences, with a stretched waxen 
hand for his friend, a partial nod for Nature's wor- 
shipper — ^inefficient at any serious issue of our human 
affairs, as the earl would now discover. 

Gower left the two young noblemen to their greetings. 
Happily for him, philosophy, in the present instance, 
after a round of profundities, turned her lantern upon 
the comic aspect of his errand. Considering the Coun- 
tess Livia, and himself, and the tyrant, who benevo- 
lently and providentially, or sardonically, hurled them 
to their interview, the situation was comic, certainly, in 
the sense of its being an illumination of this life's odd 
developments. For thus had things come about, that 
if it were possible even to think of the lady's condescend- 
ing, he, thanks to the fair one he would see before evening, 
was armed and proof against his old infatuation or any 



412 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

renewal of it. And he had been taught to read through 
the beautiful twilighted woman, as if she were burnt paper 
held at the fire consuming her. His hopes hung elsewhere. 
Nevertheless, an intellectual demon-imp very lively in 
his head urged him to speculate on such a contest between 
them, and weigh the engaging forces. Difficulties were 
perceived, the scornful laughter on her side was plainly 
heard; but his feeling of savage mastery, far from 
beaten down, swelled so as to become irritable for the 
trial ; and when he was near her house he held a review 
of every personal disadvantage he could summon, in- 
cited by an array of limping deficiencies that flattered 
their arrogant leader with ideas of the power he had in 
spite of them. 

In fact, his emancipation from sentiment inspired the 
genial mood to tease. Women, having to encounter a 
male adept at the weapon for the purpose, must be 
either voluble or supportingly proud to keep the skin 
from shrinking : which is a commencement of the retro- 
gression; and that has frequently been the beginning 
of a rout. Now the Countess Livia was a lady of queenly 
pose and the servitorial conventional speech likely at a 
push to prove beggarly. When once on a common 
platform with a man of agile tongue instigated by his 
intellectual demon to pursue inquiries into her moral 
resources, after a ruthless exposure of the wrecked 
material, she would have to be, after the various fashions, 
defiant, if she was to hold her own against pressure; 
and seeing, as she must, the road of prudence point to 
conciliation, it was calculable that she would take it. 
Hence a string of possible events, astounding to man- 
kind, but equally calculable, should one care to give 
imagination headway. Gower looked signally Captain 
Abrane's 'fiddler' while he waited at Livia's house door. 
A studious intimacy with such a lady was rather like 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 413 

the exposure of the silver moon to the astronomer's 
telescope. 

The Dame will have nought of an interview and 
colloquy not found mentioned in her collection of ballads, 
concerning a person quite secondary in Dr. Glossop's 
voluminous papers. She as vehemently prohibits a 
narration of Gower Woodseer's proposal some hours 
later, for the hand of the Countess of Fleetwood's trans- 
fixed maid Madge, because of the insignificance of the 
couple ; and though it was a quaint idyll of an affection 
slowly formed, rationally based while seeming preposter- 
ous, tending to bluntly funny utterances on both sides. 
The girl was a creature of the enthusiasms, and had 
lifted that passion of her constitution into higher than 
the worship of sheer physical bravery. She had pitied 
Mr. Gower Woodseer for his apparently extreme, albeit 
reverential, devotion to her mistress. The plainly 
worded terms of his asking a young woman of her position 
and her reputation to marry him came on her like an 
intrusion of dazzling day upon the closed eyelids of the 
night, requiring time, and her mistress's consent, and 
his father's expressed approval, before she could yield 
him an answer that might appear a forgetfulness of her 
station, her ignorance, her damaged character. Gower 
protested himself, with truth, a spotted pard, an igno- 
ramus, and an outcast of all established classes, as the 
worshipper of Nature cannot well avoid being. 

'But what is it you like me for, Mr. Gower?' 
Madge longed to know, that she might see a way in 
the strange land where he had planted her after a whirl ; 
and he replied: 'I've thought of you till I can say 
I love you because you have natxirally everything I 
shoot at.' 

The vastness of the compliment drove her to think 
herself empty of anything. 



414 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

He named courage, and its offspring, honesty, and 
devotedness, constancy. Her bosom rose at the word. 

'Yes, constancy,' he repeated; and 'growing girls 
have to "turn corners," as you told me once.' 

'I did?' said she, reddening under a memory, and 
abashed by his recollection of a moment she knew to 
have been weak with her, or noisy of herself. 

Madge went straightway to her mistress and related 
her great event, in the tone of a confession of crime. 
Her mistress's approbation was timidly suggested rather 
than besought. 

It came on a flood. Carinthia's eyes filled; she ex- 
claimed: 'Oh, that good man! — he chooses my Madge 
for wife. She said it, Rebecca said it. Mrs. Wythan 
saw and said Mr. Woodseer loved my Madge. I hear 
her saying it. Then yes, and yes, from me for both your 
sakes, dear girl. He will have the faithfullest, he will 
have the kindest — Oh ! and I shall know there can be a 
happy marriage in England.' 

She summoned Gower ; she clasped his hand, to thank 
him for appreciating her servant and sister, and for the 
happiness she had in hearing it ; and she gazed at him 
and the laden brows of her Madge alternately, encour- 
aging him to repeat his recital of his pecuniary means, 
for the poetry of the fact it verified, feasting on the 
sketch of a four-roomed cottage and an agricultural 
labourer's widow for cook and housemaid; Madge to 
listen to his compositions of the day in the evening; 
Madge to praise him, Madge to correct his vanity. 

Love was out of the count, but Carinthia's leaping 
sympathy decorated the baldness of the sketch and 
spied his features through the daubed mask he chose 
to wear as a member of the order of husbands, without 
taking it for his fun. Dry material statements pre- 
sented the reality she doated to think of. Moreover, 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 415 

the marriage of these two renewed her belief in true 
marriages, and their intention to unite was evidence of 
love. 

'My journey to England was worth all troubles for 
the meeting Madge,' she said. 'I can look with pleas- 
ure to that day of my meeting her first — the day, it 
was then!' 

She stopped. Madge felt the quivering upward of a 
whimper to a sob in her breast. She slipped away. 

'It 's a day that has come roimd to be repaired, Lady 
Fleetwood,' said Gower. 'If you will. Will you not? 
He has had a blow — the death of a friend, violent death. 
It has broken him. He wants a month or so in your 
mountains. I have thought him hard to deal with; he 
is humane. His enormous wealth has been his tempter. 
Madge and I will owe him our means of livelihood, 
enough for cottagers, until I carve my way. His feelings 
are much more independent of his rank than those of 
most noblemen. He will repeat your kind words to 
Madge and me; I am sure of it. He has had heavy 
burdens; he is young, hardly formed yet. He needs 
a helper; I mean, one allied to him. You forgive me? 
I left him with a Catholic lord for comforter, who regards 
my prescript of the study of Nature, when we 're in 
grief, as about the same as an offer of a dish of cold 
boiled greens. Silver and ivory images are more con- 
soling. Neither he nor I can offer the right thing for 
Lord Fleetwood. It wUl be foimd here. And then your 
mountains. More than I, nearly as much as you, he 
has a poet's ardour for mountain land. He and Mr. 
Wythan would soon learn to understand one another 
on that head, if not as to management of mines.' 

The pleadiQg was crafty, and it was penetrative in 
the avoidance of stress. Carinthia shook herself to feel 
moved. The endeavour chilled her to a notion that 



416 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

she was but half aUve. She let the question approach 
her, whether Chillon could pardon Lord Fleetwood. 
She, with no idea of benignness, might speak pardon's 
word to him, on a late autumn evening years hence, 
perhaps, or to his friends to-morrow, if he would con- 
siderately keep distant. She was upheld by the thought 
of her brother's more honourable likeness to their father, 
in the certainty of his refusal to speak pardon's empty 
word or touch an offending hand, without their father's 
warrant for the injury wiped out; and as she had no 
wish for that to be done, she could anticipate his with- 
holding of the word. 

For her brother at wrestle with his fallen fortunes 
was now the beating heart of Carinthia's mind. Her 
husband was a shadow there. He did obscure it, and 
he might annoy, he was unable to set it in motion. He 
sat there somewhat like Youth's apprehension of Death : 
— the dark spot seen mistily at times through people's 
tears, or visioned as in an ambush beyond the hills; 
occasionally challenged to stimulate recklessness ; oftener 
overlooked, acknowledged for the undesired remote of 
life's conditions, life's evil, fatal, ill-assorted yokefellow; 
and if it was in his power to burst out of his corner and 
be terrible to her, she could bring up a force unnamed 
and unmeasured, that being the blood of her father in 
her veins. Having done her utmost to guard her 
babe, she said her prayers; she stood for peace or the 
struggle. 

'Does Lord Fleetwood speak of coming here?' she 
said. 

'To-morrow.' 

'I go to Croridge to-morrow.' 

'Your ladyship returns?' 

'Yes, I return. Mr. Gower, you have fifty minutes 
before you dress for dinner.' 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 417 

He thought only of the exceeding charity of the in- 
timation ; and he may be excused for his not seeing the 
feminine full answer it was, in an implied, unmeditated 
contrast. He went gladly to find his new comrade, 
his flower among grass-blades, the wonderful creature 
astonishing him and surcharging his world by setting 
her face at him, opening her breast to him, breathing 
a young man's word of words from a woman's mouth. 
His flower among grass-blades for a head looking studi- 
ously down, she was his fountain of wisdom as well, 
in the assurance she gave him of the wisdom of his 
choice. 

But Madge had put up the 'prize-fighter's lass,' by 
way of dolly defence, to cover her amazed confusion 
when the proposal of this well-liked gentleman to a 
girl such as she sounded churchy. He knocked it over 
easily; it left, however, a bee at his ear and an itch 
to transfer the buzzer's attentions and tease his darling ; 
for she had betrayed herself as right good game. Nor 
is there happier promise of life-long domestic enliven- 
ment for a prescient man of Letters than he has in the 
contemplation of a pretty face showing the sensitiveness 
to the sting, which is not allowed to poison her temper, 
and is short of fetching tears. The dear innocent girl 
gave this pleasing promise; moreover, she could be 
twisted to laugh at herself, just a little. Now, the young 
woman who can do that has already jumped the hedge 
into the highroad of philosophy, and may become a 
philosopher's mate in its by-ways, where the minute 
discoveries are the notable treasures. 

They had their ramble, agreeable to both, despite the 
admonitory dose administered to one of them. They 
might have been espied at a point or two from across 
the park-palings; their laughter would have caught an 
outside pedestrian's hearing. Whatever the case, Owain 



418 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Wythan, riding down off Croridge, big with news of 
her brother for the countess, dined at her table, and 
walking up the lane to the Esslemont Arms on a moon- 
less night, to mount his horse, pitched against an active 
and, as it was deemed by Gower's observation of his 
eyes, a scientific fist. The design to black them finely 
was attributable to the dyeing accuracy of the stroke. 
A single blow had done it. Mr. Wythan's watch and 
purse were untouched ; and a second look at the swollen 
blind peepers led Gower to surmise that they were, in 
the calculation of the striker, his own. 

He walked next day to the Royal Sovereign inn. 
There he came upon the earl driving his phaeton. Fleet- 
wood jumped down, and Gower told of the mysterious 
incident, as the chief thing he had to tell, not rendering 
it so mysterious in his narrative style. He had the art 
of indicating darkly. 

'Ines, you mean?' Fleetwood cried, and he appeared 
as nauseated and perplexed as he felt. Why should 
Ines assault Mr. Wythan? It happened that the pugi- 
list's patron had, within the last fifteen minutes, driven 
past a certain thirty-acre meadow, sight of which on his 
way to Carinthia had stirred him. He had even then an 
idea of his old deeds dogging him to bind him, every 
one of them, the smallest. 

'But you 've nothing to go by,' he said. 'Why guess 
at this rascal more than another ? ' 

Gower quoted Mrs. Rundles and the ostler for wit- 
nesses to Kit's visit yesterday to_ the Royal Sovereign, 
though Kit shunned the bar of the Esslemont Arms. 

'I guess pretty clearly, because I suspect he was 
hanging about and saw me and Madge together.' 

'Consolations for failures in town? — by the way, 
you are complimented, and I don't think you deserved 
it. However, there was just the chance to Stop a run to 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 419 

perdition. But, Madge? Madge? I'd swear to the 
girl!' 

'Not so hard as I,' said Gower, and spoke of the oath 
to come between the girl and him. 

Fleetwood's dive into the girl's eyes drew her before 
him. He checked a spirt of exclamations. 

'You fancy the brute had a crack for revenge and 
mistook his man?' 

'That 's what I want her ladyship to know,' said 
Gower. 

'How could you let her hear of it?' 

' Nothing can be concealed from her.' 

The earl was impressionable to the remark, in his 
disgust at the incident. It added a touch of a new 
kind of power to her image. 

'She 's aware of my coming?' 

'To-day or to-morrow.' 

They scaled the phaeton and drove. 

'You undervalue Lord Feltre. You avoid your ad- 
versaries,' Fleetwood now rebuked his hearer. 'It 's an 
easy way to have the pull of them in your own mind. 
You might learn from him. He 's willing for contro- 
versy. Nature-worship — or "aboriginal genuflexion," 
he calls it; Anglicanism, Methodism; he stands to 
engage them. It can't be doubted, that in days of trouble 
he has a faith "stout as a rock, with an oracle in it," as he 
says ; and he 's right, — " men who go into battle require 
a rock to back them or a staff to lean on." You have 
your " secret," you think ; as far as I can see, it 's to 
keep you from going into any form of battle.' 

The new influence at work on the young nobleman 
was evident, if only in the language used. 

Gower answered mildly : ' That can hardly be said of 
a man who 's going to marry.' 

'Perhaps not. Lady Fleetwood is aware?' 



420 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

'Lady Fleetwood does me the honour to approve 
my choice.' 

'You mean, you're dead on to it with this girl?' 

'For a year or more.' 

'Fond of her?' 

'AH my heart.' 

'In love!' 

' Yes, in love. The proof of it is, I 've asked her 
now I can support her as a -cottager leaning on the Three 
Per Cents.' 

'Well, it helps you to a human kind of talk. It 
carries out your theories. I never disbelieved in your 
honesty. The wisdom 's another matter. Did you ever 
tell any one, that there 's not an act of a man's life lies 
dead behind him, but it is blessing or cursing him 
every step he takes?' 

'By that,' rejoined Gower, 'I can say Lord Feltre 
proves there 's wisdom in the truisms of devoutness.' 

He thought the Catholic lord had gone a step or two 
to catch an eel. 

Fleetwood was looking on the backward of his days, 
beholding a melancholy sunset, with a grimace in it. 

'Lord Feltre might show you the "leanness of Philos- 
ophy"; — you would learn from hearing him: — "an 
old gnawed bone for the dog that chooses to be no better 
than a dog." ' 

'The vertiginous roast haunch is recommended,' 
Gower said. 

'See a higher than your own head, good sir. But, 
hang the man ! he manages to hit on the thing he wants.' 
Fleetwood set his face at Gower with cutting heartiness. 
'In love, you say, and Madge: and mean it to be the 
holy business! Well, poor old Chummy always gave 
you credit for knowing how to play your game. She 
has given proof she 's a good girl. I don't see why it 



A RECORD OF MINOR INCIDENTS 421 

shouldn't end well. That attack on the Welshman's 
the bad lookout. Explained, if you like, but women's 
impressions won't get explained away. We must down 
on our knees or they. Her ladyship attentive at all to 
affairs of the house?' 

'Every day with Queeney; at intervals with Led- 
dings.' 

' Excellent ! You speak like a fellow recording the 
devout observances of a great dame with her minor and 
superior ecclesiastical comforters. Regular at church?' 

' Her ladyship goes.' 

'A woman without religion, Gower Woodseer, is a 
weed on the water, or she 's hard as nails. We shall 
see. Generally, Madge and the youngster parade the 
park at this hour. I drive round to the stables. Go 
in and offer your version of that rascally dog's trick. 
It seems the nearest we can come at. He 's a sot, and 
drunken dogs '11 do anything. I 've had him on my 
hands, and I 've got the stain of him.' 

They trotted through Esslemont Park gates. ' I 've 
got that place, Calesford, on my hands, too,' the earl 
said, suddenly moved to a liking for his Kentish home. 

He and Gower were struck by a common thought of 
the extraordinary burdens his indulgence in impulses 
drew upon him. Present circumstances pictured to 
Gower the opposing weighed and matured good reason 
for his choosing Madge, and he complimented himself 
in his pity for the earl. But Fleetwood, as he reviewed 
a body of acquaintances perfectly free from the wretched 
run in harness, though they had their fits and their 
whims, was pushed to the conclusion that fatalism 
marked his particular course through life. He could 
not hint at such an idea to the unsympathetic fellow, 
or rather, the burly antagonist to anything of the sort, 
beside him. Lord Feltre would have understood and 



422 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

appreciated it instantly. Where is aid to be had if we 
have the Fates against us? Feltre knew the Power, he 
said ; was an example of ' the efficacy of supplications ' ; 
he had been 'fatally driven to find the Power,' and had 
found it — on the road to Rome, of course: not a de- 
lectable road for an English nobleman, except that 
the noise of another convert in pilgrimage on it would 
deal our English world a lively smack, the very stroke 
that heavy body wants. But the figure of a 'monastic 
man of fashion' was antipathetic to the earl, and he 
flouted an English Protestant mass merely because of 
his being highly individual, and therefore revolutionary 
for the minority. 

He cast his bitter cud aside. 'My man should have 
arrived. Lady Fleetwood at home?' 

Gower spoke of her having gone to Groridge in the 
morning. 

'Has she taken the child?' 

'She has, yes. For the air of the heights.' 

'For greater security. Lady Arpington praises the 
thoughtful mother. I rather expected to see the child.' 

'They can't be much later,' Gower supposed. 

'You don't feel your long separation from "the 
object"?' 

Letting him have his cushion for pins, Gower said: 
'It needs all my philosophy.' 

He was pricked and probed for the next five minutes ; 
not bad rallying, the earl could be smart when he smarted. 
Then they descended the terrace to meet Lady Fleetwood 
driving her pony-trap. She gave a brief single nod to 
the salute of her lord, quite in the town-lady's manner, 
surprisingly. 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 423 



CHAPTER XLI 

IN WHICH THE FATES ARE SEEN AND A CHOICE OP 
THE REFUGES FROM THEM 

The home of husband and wife was under one roof at 
last. Fleetwood went, like one deported, to his wing 
of the house, physically sensible, in the back turned to 
his wife's along the corridor, that our ordinary com- 
parison for the division of a wedded twain is correct. 
She was Arctic, and Antarctic he had to be, perforce 
of the distance she put between them. A removal of 
either of them from life — or from 'the act of breath- 
ing,' as Gower Woodseer's contempt of the talk about 
death would caU it — was an imaginable way of making 
it a wider division. Ambrose Mallard was far enough 
from his fatal lady now — farther than the Poles asunder. 
Ambrose, if the clergy will allow him, has found his 
peace. But the road and the means he chose were a 
madman's. 

The blotting of our character, to close our troubles, 
is the final proof of our being 'sons of vapour,' accord- 
ing to Gower Woodseer's heartless term for poor Am- 
brose and the lot. They have their souls; and above 
"philosophy, 'natural' or unnatural, they may find a 
shelter. They can show in their desperation that they 
are made of blood, as philosophers rather fail of doing. 
An insignificant brainless creature like Feltre had wits, 
by the aid of his religion, to help or be charitable to his 
fellows, particularly the sinners, in the crisis of life, sur- 
passing any philosopher's. 

Information of her ladyship's having inspected the 
apgrtments, to see to the minutest of his customary 



424 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

luxuries, cut at him all round. His valet had it from 
the footmen and maids ; and their speaking of it meant 
a liking for their mistress ; and that liking, added to 
her official solicitude on his behalf, touched a soft place 
in him and blew an icy wind; he was frozen where he 
was warmed. Here was evidence of her intending the 
division to be a fixed gap. She had entered this room 
and looked about her. He was here to feel her presence 
in her absence. 

Some one or something had schooled her, too. Her 
large-eyed directness of gaze was the same as at that 
inn and in Wales, but her easy sedateness was novel, 
her English almost the tone of the English world: he 
gathered it, at least, from the few remarks below stairs. 

His desire to be with her was the desire to escape 
the phantasm of the woman haunting to subjugate him 
when they were separate. He could kill illusion by 
magnifying and clawing at her visible angles and audible 
false notes; and he did it until his recollections joined 
to the sight of her, when a clash of the thought of what 
she had been and the thought of what she was had the 
effect of conjuring a bitter sweet image that was a more 
seductive illusion. Strange to think, this woman once 
loved the man who was not half the value of the man she 
no longer loved. He took a shot at cynicism, but hit 
no mark. This woman protected her whole sex. 

They sat at the dinner-table alone, thanks to a hand- 
some wench's attractions for a philosopher. Married, 
and parents of a lusty son, this was their first sitting 
at table together. The mouth that said 'I guard my 
rooms' was not obtruded; she talked passingly of her 
brother, much of Lady Arpington and of old Mr. Wood- 
seer; and, though she reserved a smile, there was no 
look of a lock on her face. She seemed pleased to be 
treated very courteously; she returned the stately 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 425 

politeness in exactest measure; very simply, as well. 
Her face had now an air of homeliness, well suited to 
an English household interior. She could chat. Any 
pauses occurring, he was the one guilty of them; she 
did not allow them to be barrier chasms, or 'strids' for 
the leap with effort ; she crossed them like the mountain 
maid over a gorge's plank — kept her tones perfectly. 
Her Madge and Mr. Gower Woodseer made a convers- 
ible topic. She was inquisitive for accounts of Spanish 
history and the land of Spain. 

They passed into the drawing-room. She had heard 
of the fate of the poor child in Wales, she said, without 
a comment. 

'I see now, I ought to have backed your proposal,' 
he confessed, and was near on shivering. She kept 
silent, proudly or regretfully. 

Open on her workbasket was a Spanish guide-book 
and a map attached to it. She listened to descriptions 
of Cadiz, Malaga, Seville, Granada. Her curiosity was 
chiefly for detailed accounts of Catalonia and the 
Pyrenees. 

' Hardly the place for you ; there 's a perpetual heav- 
ing of Carlism in those mountains ; your own are quieter 
for travellers,' he remarked ; and for a moment her lips 
moved to some likeness of a smile ; a dimple in a flowing 
thought. 

He remarked the come and go of it. 

He regretted his inability to add to her knowledge of 
the Spanish Pyrenees. 

Books helped her at present, she said. 

Feeling acutely that hostihty would have brought 
them closer than her uninviting civility, he spoke of 
the assault on Mr. Wythan, and Gower Woodseer's 
conjecture, and of his having long since discharged the 
rascal Ines. 



426 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

To which her unreproachful answer, 'You made use 
of those men, my lord,' sent a cry ringing through him, 
recalling Feltre's words, as to the grip men progressively 
are held in by their deeds done. 

'Oh, quite true, we change our views and ways of 
life,' he said, thinking she might set her considerations 
on other points of his character. But this reflection 
was a piece of humility not yet in his particular esti- 
mate of his character, and he spurned it : an act of 
pride that drove his mind, for occupation, to contem- 
plate hers; which speedily became an embrace of her 
character, until he was asking whether the woman he 
called wife and dared not clasp was one of those rarest, 
who can be idealized by virtue of their being known. 
For the young man embracing a character loses grasp 
of his own, is plucked out of himself and passes into 
it, to see the creature he is with the other's eyes, and 
feel for the other as a very self. Such is the privilege 
and the chastisement of the young. 

Gower Woodseer's engagement with the girl Madge 
was a happier subject for expatiation and agreement. 
Her deeper tones threw a light on Gower, and where 
she saw goodness, he could at least behold the natural 
philosopher practically philosophizing. 

'The girl shall have a dowry from me,' he said; and 
the sum named was large. Her head bent acknowledg- 
ingly; money had small weight with her now. His 
perception of it stripped him and lamed him. 

He wished her ladyship good-night. She stood up 
and performed a semi-ceremonious obeisance, neatly 
adapted to their mutual position. She had a well- 
bred mother. 

Probably she would sleep. No such expectation 
could soothe the friend, and some might be thinking 
misleader, of Ambrose Mallard, before he had ocular 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 427 

proof that the body lay underground. His promise 
was given to follow it to the grave, a grave in consecrated 
earth. Ambrose died of the accidental shot of a pocket- 
pistol he customarily carried loaded. Two intimate 
associates of the dead man swore to that habit of his. 
They lied to get him undisputed Christian burial. Aha ! 
The earl laughed outright at Chummy Potts's nursery 
qualms. The old fellow had to do it, and he lied like 
a man for the sake of Ambrose Mallard's family. So 
much is owing to our friend. 

Can ecclesiastical casuists decide upon cases of con- 
science affecting men of the world? 

A council sat upon the case the whole night long. 
A committee of the worldly held argumentation in a 
lower chamber. 

These are nights that weaken us to below the level 
of women. A shuttle worked in Fleetwood's head. 
He defended the men of the world. Lord Feltre oiled 
them, damned them, kindled them to a terrific expiatory 
blaze, and extinguishingly salved and wafted aloft the 
released essence of them. Maniacal for argument, 
Fleetwood rejected the forgiveness of sins, if sins they 
be. Prove them sins, and the suffering is of necessity 
everlasting, his insomnia logic insisted. Whichever side 
he took, his wife was against him; not in speech, but 
in her look. She was a dumb figure among the wranglers, 
clouded up to the neck. Her look said she knew more 
of him than they knew. 

He departed next day for London, after kissing his 
child; and he would have done wisely to abstain from 
his exhibition of the paternal. Knowing it a step to 
concOiation, he checked his impulsive warmth, under 
the apprehension that the mother would take it for a 
piece of acting to propitiate — and his lips pecked the 
J)aby's cheek. Its mother held arms for it immediately. 



428 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Not without reason did his heart denounce her as a 
mere mother, with Httle of a mind to see. 

The recent series of feverishly sleepless nights dis- 
posed him to snappish irritability or the thirst for tender- 
ness. Gower had singular experiences of him on the 
drive North-westward. He scarcely spoke; he said 
once : ' If you mean to marry, you '11 be wanting to 
marry soon, of course,' and his curt nod before the reply 
was formulated appeared to signify, the sooner the 
better, and deliverance for both of us. Honest though 
he might be, sometimes deep and sometimes picturesque, 
the philosopher's day had come to an end. How can 
Philosophy minister to raw wounds, when we are in a 
rageing gale of the vexations, battered to right and left ! 
Religion has a nourishing breast: Philosophy is breast- 
less. Religion condones offences : Philosophy has no 
forgiveness, is an untenanted confessional: — 'wide air 
to a cry in anguish,' Feltre says. 

All the way to London Fleetwood endured his com- 
panion, letting him talk when he would. 

He spent the greater part of the night discussing 
human affairs and spiritual with Lord Feltre, whose 
dialectical exhortations and insinuations were of the 
feeblest, but to an isolated young man, yearning for 
the tenderness of a woman thinking but of her griev- 
ances, the ointment brought comfort. 

It soothed him during his march to and away from 
Ambrose Mallard's grave; where it seemed to him 
curious and even pitiable that Chumley Potts should 
be so inconsolably shaken. Well, and if the priests 
have the secret of strengthening the backbone for a 
bend of the knee in calamity, why not go to the priests. 
Chummy? Potts's hearing was not addressed; nor 
was the chief person in the meditation affected by a 
question that merely jumped out of his perturbed interior. 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 429 

Business at Calesford kept Fleetwood hanging about 
London several days further; and his hatred of a place 
he wasted time and money to decorate grew immeasur- 
able. It distorted the features of the beautiful woman 
for whose pleasure the grand entertainments to be held 
there had, somewhere or other — when felon spectres 
were abroad over earth — ^been conceived. 

He could then return to Esslemont. Gower was told 
kindly, with intentional coldness, that he could take a 
seat in the phaeton if he liked; and he liked, and took 
it. Anything to get to that girl of his ! 

Whatever the earl's inferiors did, their inferior station 
was not suffered to discolour it for his judgement. But 
an increasing antagonism to Woodseer's philosophy — 
which the fellow carried through with perpetual scorings 
of satisfaction — caused him to set a hard eye on the 
damsel under the grisly spotting shadow of the sottish 
bruiser, of whom, after once touching the beast, he 
could not rub his hands clean ; and he chose to consider 
the winning of the prize-fighter's lass the final triumph 
or flag on the apex of the now despised philosophy. Vain 
to ask how he had come to be mixed up with the lot, 
or why the stolidly conceited, pretentious fellow had 
seat here, as by right, beside him! We sow and we 
reap; 'plant for sugar and taste the cane,' some one 
says — this Woodseer, probably; he can, when it suits 
him, tickle the ears of the worldlings. And there is 
worthier stuff to remember; stuff to nourish: Feltre's 
'wisdom of our fathers,' rightly named Religion. 

More in the country, when he traversed sweep and 
rise of open land, Carinthia's image began to shine, 
and she threw some of her light on Madge, who made 
Woodseer appear tolerable, sagacious, absurdly enviable, 
as when we have the fit to wish we were some four-foot. 
The fellow's philosophy wore a look of practical craft. 



430 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

He was going to the girl he liked, and she was, one could 
swear, an honest girl ; and she was a comely girl, a girl 
to stick to a man. Her throwing over a sot was credit- 
able. Her mistress loved her. That said much for any 
mortal creature. Man or woman loved by Carinthia 
could not be cowardly, could not be vile, must have high 
qualities. Next to Religion, she stood for a test of us. 
Had she any strong sense of Religion, in addition to the 
formal trooping to one of their pallid Protestant churches ? 
Lord Feltre might prove useful to her. For merely 
the comprehension of the signification of Religion steadies 
us. It had done that for him, the earl owned. 

He broke a prolonged silence by remarking to Gower : 
'You haven't much to say to-day' ; and the answer was : 
' Very little. When I 'm walking, I 'm picking up ; and 
when I 'm driving, I 'm putting together.' 

Gower was rallied on the pursuit of the personal 
object in both cases. He pointed at sheep, shepherd, 
farmer, over the hedge, all similarly occupied; and 
admitted shamelessly, that he had not a thought for 
company, scarce a word to fling. 'Ideas in gestation 
are the dullest matter you can have.' 

'There I quite agree with you,' said Fleetwood. 
Abrane, Chummy Potts, Brailstone, little Corby, were 
brighter comrades. And these were his Ixionides ! 
Hitherto his carving of a way in the world had been 
sufficiently ill-considered. Was it preferable to be a. 
loutish philosopher? Since the death of Ambrose 
Mallard, he felt Woodseer's title for that crew grind 
harshly; and he tried to provoke a repetition of it, 
that he might burst out in wrathful defence of his friends 
— to be named friends when they were vilified : defence 
of poor Ambrose at least, the sinner who, or one as bad, 
might have reached to pardon through the priesthood. 
Gower offered him no chance. 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 431 

Entering Esslemont air, Fleetwood tossed his black 
mood to the winds. She breathed it. She was a moun- 
tain girl, and found it hard to forgive our lowlands. 
She would learn tolerance, taking her flights at seasons. 
The yacht, if she is anything of a sailor, may give her a 
taste of England's pleasures. She will have a special 
allowance for distribution among old Mr. Woodseer's 
people. As to the rest of the Countess of Fleetwood's 
wishes, her family ranks with her husband's in claims 
of any kind on him. 'There would be — she would re- 
quire and had a right to demand — say, a warm half- 
hour of explanations : he knew the tone for them, and 
so little did he revolve it apprehensively, that his mind 
sprang beyond, to the hearing from her mouth of her 
not intending further to 'guard her rooms.' How quietly 
the words were spoken ! There was a charm in the 
retrospect of her mouth and manner. One of the rare 
women who never pout or attitudinize, she could fling 
her glove gracefully — one might add, capturingly: 
under every aspect, she was a handsome belligerent. 
The words he had to combat pleased his memory. Some 
good friend. Lady Arpington probably, had instructed 
her in the art of dressing to match her colour. 

Concerning himself, he made no stipulation, but he 
reflected on Lord Feltre's likely estimate of her as a bit 
of a heathen. And it might be to her advantage, were 
she and Feltre to have some conversations. Whatever 
the faith, a faith should exist, for without the sentiment 
of religion, a woman, he says, is where she was when 
she left the gates of Eden. A man is not much farther. 
Feltre might have saved Ambrose Mallard. He is, how- 
ever, right in saying, that the woman with the sentiment 
of religion in her bosom is a box of holy incense distin- 
guishing her from all other women. Empty of it, she 
is devil's bait. At best, she is a creature who cannot 



432 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

overlook an injury, or must be exacting God knows what 
humiliations before she signs the treaty. 

Informed at the house that her ladyship had been 
staying up on Croridge for the last two days, Fleetwood 
sent his hardest shot of the eyes at Gower. Let her be 
absent : it was equal to the first move of war, and ab- 
solved him from contemplated proposals to make amends. 
But the enforced solitary companionship with this rumi- 
nator of a fellow set him asking whether the godless dog 
he had picked up by the wayside was not incarnate 
another of the sins he had to expiate. Day after day, 
almost hourly, some new stroke fell on him. Why? 
Was he selected for persecution because he was wealthy ? 
The Fates were driving him in one direction, no doubt 
of that. 

This further black mood evaporated, and like a cessa- 
tion of English storm-weather bequeathed him gloom. 
Ashamed of the mood, he was nevertheless directed by 
its final shadows to see the ruminating tramp in Gower, 
and in Madge the prize-fighter's jilt: and round about 
Esslemont a world eyeing an Earl of Fleetwood, who 
painted himself the man he was, or was held to be, by 
getting together such a collection, from the daughter of 
the Old Buccaneer to the ghastly corpse of Ambrose 
Mallard. Why, clearly, wealth was the sole origin and 
agent of the mischief. With somewhat less of it, he 
might have walked in his place among the nation's 
elect, the 'herd of the gilt horns,' untroubled by am- 
bitions and ideas. 

Arriving thus far, he chanced to behold Gower and 
Madge walking over the grounds near the western plan- 
tation, and he regretted the disappearance of them, with 
the fellow talking hard into the girl's ear. Those two 
could think he had been of some use. The man pre- 
tending to philosophical depth was at any rate honest; 



THE FATES AND CHOICE OF REFUGES 433 

one could swear to the honesty of the girl, though she 
had been a reckless hussy. Their humble little hopes and 
means to come to union approached, after a fashion, 
hymning at his ears. Those two were pleasanter to 
look on than amorous lords and great ladies, who are 
interesting only when they are wicked. 

Four days of desolate wanderings over the estate 
were occupied chiefly in his decreeing the fall of timber 
that obstructed views, and was the more imperatively 
doomed for his bailiff's intercession. 'Sound wood' 
the trees might be : they had to assist in defraying the 
expense of separate establishments. A messenger to 
Queeney from Croridge then announced the Countess's 
return 'for a couple of hours.' Queeney said it was the 
day when her ladyship examined the weekly bills of 
the household. That was in the early morning. The 
post brought my lord a letter from Countess Livia, a 
most infrequent writer. She had his word to pay her 
debts; what next was she for asking? He shrugged, 
opened the letter, and stared at the half dozen lines. 
The signification of them rapped on his consciousness of 
another heavy blow before he was perfectly intelligent. 

All possible anticipation seemed here outdone : inso- 
much that he held palpable evidence of the Fates at 
work to harass and drive him. She was married to the 
young Earl of Cressett ! 

Fleetwood printed the lines on his eyeballs. They 
were the politely flowing feminine of a statement of the 
fact, which might have been in one line. They flour- 
ished wantonly: they were deadly blunt. And of all 
men, this youngster, who struck at him through her 
lips with the reproach, that he had sped the good-looking 
little beast upon his road to ruin : — perhaps to Ambrose 
Mallard's end ! 



434 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

CHAPTER XLII 

THE BETAKDED COURTSHIP 

Carinthia reached Esslemont near noon. She came 
on foot, and had come unaccompanied, stick in hand, 
her dress looped for the roads. Madge bustled her 
shorter steps up the park beside her; Fleetwood met 
her on the terrace. 

'No one can be spared at Croridge,' she said. 'I 
go back before dark.' Apology was not thought of; 
she seemed wound to the pitch. 

He bowed; he led into the morning-room. 'The 
boy is at Croridge?' 

'With me. He has his nurse. Madge was at home 
here more than there.' 

'Why do you go back?' 

'I am of use to my brother.' 

'Forgive me — ^in what way?' 

'He has enemies about him. They are the workmen 
of Lord Levellier. They attacked Lekkatts the other 
night, and my uncle fired at them out of a window 
and wounded a man. They have sworn they will be 
revenged. Mr. Wythan is with my brother to protect 
him.' 

'Two men, very well; they don't want, if there's 
danger, a woman's aid in protecting him ? ' 

She smiled, and her smile was like the hint of the 
steel blade an inch out of sheath. 

' My brother does not count me a weak woman. ' 

'Oh no ! No one would think that,' Fleetwood said 
hurriedly and heartily. 'Least of all men, I, Carinthia. 
But you might be rash.' 



THE RETARDED COURTSHIP 435 

'My brother knows me cautious.' 

'CMUon?' 

'It is my brother's name.' 

'You used to call him by his name. 

'I love his name.' 

' Ah, well ! I may be pardoned for wishing to hear 
what part you play there.' 

'I go the rounds with my brother.' 

'Armed?' 

'We carry arms.' 

'Queer sight to see in England. But there are rascals 
in this country, too.' 

She was guilty of saying, though not pointedly : ' We 
do not hire defenders.' 

'In civilized lands . . .' he began and stopped.. 
'You have Mr. Wythan?' 

'Yes, we are three.' 

'You call him, I think, Owain?' 

'I do.' 

'In your brother's hearing?' 

'Yes, my lord; it would be in yoiu" hearing if you 
were near.' 

'No harm, no doubt.' 

'There is none.' 

' But you will not call your brother Chillon to me.' 

'You dislike the name.' 

' I learn to like everything you do and say ; and every 
person you like.' 

'It is by Mi-. Wythan's dead wife's request that I 
call him by his name. He is our friend. He is a man 
to trust.' 

'The situation . . .' Fleetwood hung swaying 
between the worldly view of it and the white light of 
this woman's nature flashed on his emotion into his 
mind. 'You shall be trusted for judging. If he is 



436 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

your friend, he is my friend. I have missed the sight 
of our boy. You heard I was at Esslemont ? ' 

'I heard from Madge.' 

' It is positive you must return to Croridge ? ' 

'I must be with my brother, yes.' 

'Your ladyship will permit me to conduct you.' 

Her head assented. There was nothing to complain 
of, but he had not gained a step. 

The rule is, that when we have yielded initiative to 
a woman, we are unable to recover it without uncivil 
bluster. So, therefore, women dealing with gentlemen 
are allowed unreasonable advantages. He had never 
granted it in colloquy or act to any woman but this 
one. Consequently, he was to see, that if the gentle- 
man in him was not put aside, the lady would continue 
moving on lines of the independence he had likev;ise 
yielded, or rather flung, to her. Unless, as a result, he 
besieged and wooed his wife, his wife would hold on a 
course inclining constantly farther from the union he 
desired. Yet how could he begin to woo her if he saw 
no spark of womanly tenderness? He asked himself, 
because the beginning of the wooing might be checked 
by the call on him for words of repentance only just 
possible to conceive. Imagine them uttered, and she 
has the initiative for life. 

She would not have it, certainly, with a downright 
brute. But he was not that. In an extremity of bitter- 
ness, he fished up a drowned old thought, of all his 
torments being due to the impulsive half-brute he was. 
And between the good and the bad in him, the sole 
point of strength was a pride likely, as the smooth sim- 
plicity of her indifference showed him, soon to be going 
down prostrate beneath her feet. Wholly a brute — 
well? He had to say, that playing the perfect brute 
with any other woman he would have his mastery. The 



THE RETARDED COURTSHIP 437 

summoning of an idea of personal power to match this 
woman in a contest was an effort exhausting the idea. 

They passed out of Esslemont gates together at that 
hour of the late afternoon when South-westerly breezes, 
after a summer gale, drive their huge white flocks over 
blue fields fresh as morning, on the march to pile the 
crown of the sphere, and end a troubled day with grand- 
eur. Up the lane by the park they had open land to 
the heights of Croridge. 

' Splendid clouds,' Fleetwood remarked. 

She looked up, thinking of the happy long day's walk 
with her brother to the Styrian Baths. Pleasure in the 
sight made her face shine superbly. 'A flying Switzer- 
land, Mr. Woodseer says,' she replied. 'England is 
beautiful on days like these. For walking, I think the 
English climate very good.' 

He dropped a murmur: 'It should suit so good a 
waJker,' and burned to compliment her spirited easy 
stepping, and scorned himself for the sycophancy it 
would be before they were on the common ground of a 
restored understanding. But an approval of any of 
her acts threatened him with enthusiasm for the whole 
of them, her person included; and a dam in his breast 
had to keep back the flood. 

'You quote Woodseer to me, Carinthia. I wish you 
knew Lord Feltre. He can tell you of every cathedral, 
convent, and monastery in Europe and Syria. Nature 
is well enough; she is, as he says, a savage. Men's 
works, acting under divine direction to escape from 
that tangle, are better worthy of study, perhaps. If 
one has done wrong, for example.' 

'I could listen to him,' she said. 

'You would not need — except, yes, one thing. Your 
father's book speaks of not forgiving an injury.' 

'My father does. He thinks it weakness to forgive 



438 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

an injury. Women do, and are disgraced, they are 
thought slavish. My brother is much stronger than I 
am. He is my father alive in that.' 

'It is anti-Christian, some would think.' 

'Let offending people go. He would not punish 
them. They may go where they wiU be forgiven. For 
them our religion is a happy retreat; we are glad they 
have it. My father and my brother say that injiu-y 
forbids us to be friends again. My father was injured 
by the English Admiralty: he never forgave it; but 
he would have fought one of their ships and offered his 
blood any day, if his country called to battle.' 

'You have the same feeling, you mean.' 

'I am a woman. I follow my brother, whatever he 
decides. It is not to say he is the enemy of persons 
offending him ; only that they have put the division.' 

'They repent?' 

' If they do, they do well for themselves.' 

'You would see them in sackcloth and ashes?' 

' I would pray to be spared seeing them.' 

'You can entirely forget — well, other moments, other 
feelings ? ' 

'They may heighten the injury.' 

'Carinthia, I should wish to speak plainly, if I could, 
and tell you . . .' 

'You speak quite plainly, my lord.' 

'You and I cannot be strangers or enemies.' 

'We cannot be, I would not be. To be friends, we 
should be separate.' 

'You say you are a woman; you have a heart, 
then?' — ^for, if not, what have you? was added in 
the tone. 

'My heart is my brother's,' she said. 

'All your heart?' 

'My heart is my brother's until one of us drops.' 



THE RETARDED COURTSHIP 439 

'There is not another on earth beside your brother 
ChiUon?' 

'There is my child.' 

The dwarf square tower of Croridge village church 
fronted them against the sky, seen of both. 

'You remember it,' he said; and she answered: 'I 
was married there.' 

'You have not forgotten that injury, Carinthia?' 

'I am a mother.' 

'By all the saints! you hit hard. Justly. Not you. 
Our deeds are the hard hitters. We learn when they 
begin to flagellate, stroke upon stroke! Suppose we 
hold a costly thing in the hand and dash it to the ground 
— no recovery of it, none! That must be what your 
father meant. I can't regret you are a mother. "We 
have a son, a bond. How can I describe the man I 
was!' he muttered, — 'possessed! sort of werewolf! 
You are my wife?' 

'I was married to you, my lord.' 

' It 's a tie of a kind.' 

'It binds me.' 

'Obey, you said.' 

'Obey it. I do.' 

'You consider it holy?' 

'My father and my mother spoke to me of the marriage- 
tie. I read the service before I stood at the altar. It 
is holy. It is dreadful. I will be true to it.' 

'To your husband?' 

'To his name, to his honour.' 

'To the vow to live with him?' 

'My husband broke that for me.' 

'Carinthia, if he bids you, begs you to renew it? 
God knows what you may save me from !' 

'Pray to God. Do not beg of me, my lord. I have 
my brother and my little son. No more of husband for 



440 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

me ! God has given me a friend, too, — a man of humble 
heart, my brother's friend, my dear Rebecca's husband. 
He can take them from me : no one but God. See the 
splendid sky we have.' 

With those words she barred the gates on him; at 
the same time she bestowed the frank look of an amiable 
face brilliant in the lively red of her exercise, in its 
bent-bow curve along the forehead, out of the line of 
beauty, touching, as her voice was, to make an under- 
tone of s,;.iguish swell an ecstasy. So he felt it, for his 
mood was now the lover's. A torture smote him, to 
find himself transported by that voice at his ear to the 
scene of the young bride in thirty-acre meadow. 

'I propose to call on Captain Kirby-Levellier to- 
morrow, Carinthia,' he said. 'The name of his house?' 

'My brother is not now any more in the English 
army,' she replied. 'He has hired a furnished house 
named Stoneridge.' 

' He will receive me, I presume ? ' 

'My brother is a courteous gentleman, my lord.' 

'Here is the church, and here we have to part for to- 
day. Do we?' 

'Good-bye to you, my lord,' she said. 

He took her hand and dropped the dead thing. 

'Your idea is, to return to Esslemont some day or 
other?' 

' For the present,' was her strange answer. 

She bowed, she stepped on. On she sped, leaving 
him at the stammered beginning of his appeal to her. 

Their parting by the graveyard of the church that 
had united them was what the world would class as 
curious. To him it was a further and a well-marked 
stroke of the fatality pursuing him. He sauntered 
by the graveyard wall until her figure slipped out of sight. 
It went like a puffed candle, and still it haunted the 



THE RETARDED COURTSHIP 441 

corner where last seen. Her vanishing seemed to say, 
that less of her belonged to him than the phantom his 
eyes retained behind them somewhere. 

There was in his pocket a memento of Ambrose Mal- 
lard, that the family had given him at his request. He 
felt the lump. It had an answer for all perplexities. 
It had been charged and emptied since it was in his 
possession; and it could be charged again. The thing 
waig a volume as big as the world to study. For the 
touch of a finger, one could have its entirely satisfying 
contents, and fly and be a raven of that night 
wherein poor Ambrose wanders lost, but cured of 
human wounds. 

He leaned on the churchyard wall, having the graves 
to the front of eyes bent inward. They were Protes- 
tant graves, not so impressive to him as the wreathed 
and gilt of those under dedication to Feltre's Madonna. 
But whatever they were, they had ceased to nurse 
an injury or feel the pain for having inflicted it. Their 
wrinkles had gone from them, whether of anger or suffer- 
ing. Ambrose Mallard lay as peaceful in consecrated 
ground : and Chumley Potts would be unlikely to think 
that the helping to lay Ambrose in his quiet last home 
would cost him a roasting until priestly intercession 
availed. So Chummy continues a Protestant; dull 
consciences can ! But this is incomprehensible, that 
she, nursing her injury, should be perfectly civil. She 
is a woman without emotion. She is a woman full of 
emotion, one man knows. She ties him to her, to make 
him feel the lash of his remorse. He feels it because of 
her casting him from her — and so civilly. If this were 
a Catholic church, one might go in and give the stained 
soul free way to get a cleansing. As it is, here are the 
graves; the dead everywhere have their sanctity, even 
the heathen. 



442 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Fleetwood read the name of the family of Meek on 
several boards at the head of the graves. Jonathan 
Meek died at the age of ninety-five. A female Meek 
had eighty-nine years in this life. Ezra Meek gave 
up the ghost prematurely, with a couplet, at eighty- 
one. A healthy spot, Croridge, or there were virtues 
in the Meek family, he reflected, and had a shudder 
that he did not trace to its cause, beyond an acknowl- 
edgement of a desire for the warm smell of incense. <■ 



CHAPTER XLIII 

ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 

His customary wrestle with the night drove Lord Fleet- 
wood in the stillness of the hour after matins from his 
hated empty Esslemont up again to the village of the 
long-lived people, enjoying the moist earthiness of the 
air off thejronstone. He rode fasting, a good preparatory 
state for the simple pleasures, which are virtually the 
Great Nourisher's teats to her young. The eatl was 
relieved of his dejection by a sudden filling of his nostrils. 
Fat Esslemont underneath had no such air. Except 
on the mornings of his walk over the Salzkammergut 
and Black Forest regions, he had never consciously 
drawn that deep breath of the satisfied rapture, charging 
the whole breast with thankfulness. Huntsmen would 
know it, if the chase were not urgent to pull them at the 
tail of the running beast. Once or twice on board his 
yacht he might have known something like it, but the 
salt sea-breeze could not be disconnected from his com- 
panion Lord Feltre, and a thought of Feltre swung 
vapour of incense all about him. Breathing this air of 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 443 

the young sun's kiss of earth, his invigoration repelled 
the seductions of the burnt Oriental gums. 

Besides, as he had told his friend, it was the sincerity 
of the Catholic religion, not the seductiveness, that won 
him to a form of homage — the bend of the head of a 
foreign observer at a midnight mass. Asceticism, though 
it may not justify error, is a truth in itself, it is the 
essence extracted of the scourge, flesh vanquished; and 
it stands apart from controversy. Those monks of the 
forested mountain heights, rambling for their herbs, 
know the blessedness to be found in mere breathing : a 
neighbour readiness to yield the breath inspires it the 
more. For when we do not dread our end, the sense of 
a free existence comes back to us : we have the prized 
gift to infancy under the piloting of manhood. But 
before we taste that happiness we must perform our 
penance; 'No living happiness can be for the unclean,' 
as the holy father preached to his flock of the monastery 
dispersing at matins. 

Ay, but penance? penance? Is there not such a 
thing as the doing of penance out of the Church, in the 
manly fashion? So to regain the right to be numbered 
among the captains of the world's fighting men, incon- 
testably the best of comrades, whether or no they led 
away on a cataract leap at the gates of life. Boldly to 
say we did a wrong will clear our sky for a few shattering 
peals. 

The penitential act means, youth put behind us, and 
a steady course ahead. But, for the keeping of a steady 
course, men made of blood in the walks of the world 
must be steadied. Say it plainly — mated. There is 
the humiliating point of our human condition. We 
must have beside us and close beside us the woman we 
have learned to respect; supposing ourselves lucky 
enough to have found her; — 'that required other scale 



444 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of the human balance/ as Woodseer calls her now he 
has got her, wiser than Lord Feltre in reference to men 
and women. We get no balance without her. That is 
apparently the positive law; and by reason of men's 
wretched enslavement, it is the dance to dissolution 
when we have not honourable union with women. 
Feltre's view of women sees the devilish or the angelical ; 
and to most men women are knaves or ninnies. Hence 
do we behold rascals or imbeciles in the offspring of most 
men. 

He embraced the respected woman's character, with 
the usual effect : — to see with her sight ; and she beheld 
a speckled creature of the intermittent whims and 
moods and spites ; the universal Patron, whose ambition 
to be leader of his world made him handle foul brutes 
— corrupt and cause their damnation, they retort, with 
curses, in their pangs. She was expected to pardon the 
husband, who had not abstained from his revenge on 
her for keeping him to the pledge of his word. And what 
a revenge ! — he had flung the world at her. She is conse- 
quently to be the young bride she was on the memorable 
morning of the drive off these heights of Croridge down 
to thirty-acre meadow ! It must be a saint to forgive 
such offences ; and she is not one, she is deliciously not 
one, neither a Genevieve nor a Griselda. He handed 
her the rod to chastise him. Her exchange of Christian 
names with the Welshman would not do it ; she was too 
transparently sisterly, provincially simple; she was, in 
fact, respected. Any whipping from her was child's 
play to him, on whom, if he was to be made to suffer, 
the vision of the intense felicity of austerest asceticism 
brought the sensation as bracingly as the Boreal morning 
animates men of high blood in ice regions. She could 
but gently sting, even if vindictive. 

Along the heights, outside the village, some way 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 445 

below 9, turn of the road to Lekkatts, a gentleman waved 
liand. The earl saluted with his whip, and waited for 
him. 

'Nothing wrong, Mr. Wythan?' 

'Nothing to fear, my lord.' 

'I get a trifle uneasy.' 

'The countess will not leave her brother.' 

A glow of his countess's friendliness for this open- 
faced, prompt-speaking, good fellow of the faintly inky 
eyelids, and possibly sheepish inclinations, melted Fleet- 
wood. Our downright repentance of misconduct toward 
a woman binds us at least to the tolerant recognition 
of what poor scraps of consolement she may have picked 
up between then and now — when we can stretch fist in 
flame to defy it on the oath of her being a woman of 
honour. 

The earl alighted and said: 'Her brother, I suspect, 
is the key of the position.' 

'He's worth it — ^she loves her brother,' said Mr. 
Wythan, betraying a feature of his quick race, with 
whom the reflection upon a statement is its lightning 
in advance. 

Gratified by the instant apprehension of his meaning, 
Fleetwood interpreted the Welshman's. 'I have to see 
the brother worthy of her love. Can you' tell me the 
hour likely to be convenient ? ' 

Mr. Wythan thought an appointment unnecessary: 
which conveyed the sufficient assurance of audience 
granted. 

'You know her brother well, Mr. Wythan?' 

'Know him as if I had known him for years. They 
both come to the mind as faith comes — no saying how; 
one swears by them.' 

Fleetwood eyed the Welsh gentleman, with an idea 
that he might readily do the same by him. 



446 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Mr. Wythan's quarters were at the small village inn, 
whither he was on his way to breakfast. The earl 
slipped an arm through the bridle reins and walked 
beside him, listening to an account of the situation at 
Lekkatts. It was that extraordinary complication of 
moves and checks which presents in the main a knot, for 
the powers above to cut. A miserly old lord withholds 
arrears of wages; his workmen strike at a critical 
moment ; his nephew, moved by common humanity, 
draws upon crippled resources to supply their extremer 
needs, though they are ruining his interests. They 
made one night a demonstration of the terrorizing sort 
round Lekkatts, to give him a chorus ; and the old lord 
fired at them out of window and wounded a man. For 
that they vowed vengeance. All the new gunpowder 
milled in Surrey was, for some purpose of his own, 
stored by Lord Levellier on the alder island of the pond 
near his workshops, a quarter of a mile below the 
house. They refused, whatever their object, to let a 
pound of it be moved, at a time when at last the Govern- 
ment had undertaken to submit it to experiments. 
And there they stood on ground too strong for 'the 
Captain,' as they called him, to force, because of the 
quantity stored at Lekkatts being largely beyond the 
amount under cover of Lord Levellier's licence. The 
old lord was very ill, and he declined to see a doctor, but 
obstinately kept from dying. His nephew had to guard 
him, and at the same time support an enemy having just 
cause of complaint. This, however, his narrow means 
would not much longer permit him to do. The 
alternative was then offered him of either siding 
arbitrarily against the men and his conscience or of 
taking a course 'imprudent on the part of a presumptive 
heir,' Mr. Wythan said hurriedly at the little inn's 
doorsteps. 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 447 

'You make one of his lordship's guard?' said Fleet- 
wood. 

'The countess, her brother, and I, yes.' 

' Danger at all ? ' 

' Not so much to fear while the coimtess is with us.' 

' Fear is not a word for Carinthia.' 

Her name on the earl's lips drew a keen shot of the 
eye from Mr. Wythan, and he read the signification of 
the spoken name. 'You know what every Cambrian 
living thinks of her, my lord.' 

'She shall not have one friend the less for me.' 

Fleetwood's hand was out for a good-bye, and the 
hand was grasped by one who looked happy in doing it. 
He understood and trusted the man after that, warmed 
in thinking how politic his impulses could be. 

His intention of riding up to Croridge at noon to 
request his interview with Mr. Kirby-Levellier was then 
stated. 

'The key of the position, as you said,' Mr. Wythan 
remarked, not proffering an opinion of it more than was 
expressed by a hearty, rosy countenance, that had to 
win its way with the earl before excuse was foimd for 
the venturesome repetition of his phrase. 

Cantering back to that home of the loves of Gower 
Woodseer and Madge Winch, the thought of his first 
act of penance done, without his feeling the poorer for 
it, reconciled Fleetwood to the aspect of the hollow 
place. 

He could not stay beneath the roof. His task of 
breakfasting done, he was off before the morning's de- 
livery of letters, riding round the country under Croridge, 
soon up there again. And Henrietta might be at home, 
he was reminded by hearing band-music as he followed 
the directions to the house named Stoneridge. The 
band consisted of eight wind instruments; they played 



448 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

astonishingly well for itinerant musicians. By curious 
chance, they were playing a selection from the Pirata; 
presently he heard the notes to 'il mio tradito amor.' 
They had hit upon Henrietta's favourite piece ! 

At the close of it he dismounted, flung the reins to 
his groom, and, addressing a compliment to the leader, 
was deferentially saluted with a 'my lord.' Henrietta 
stood at the window, a servant held the door open for 
him to enter; he went in, and the beautiful young 
woman welcomed him: 'Oh, my dear lord, you have 
given me such true delight! How very generous of 
you!' He protested ignorance. She had seen him 
speak to the conductor and receive the patron's homage ; 
and who but he knew her adored of operas, or would have 
had the benevolent impulse to think of solacing her 
exile from music in the manner so sure of her taste ! 
She was at her loveliest: her features were one sweet 
bloom, as of the sunny flower garden; and, touched to 
the heart by the music and the kindness, she looked the 
look that kisses; innocently, he felt, feeling himself on 
the same good ground while he could own he admired 
the honey creature, much as an amateur may admire 
one of the pictures belonging to the nation. 

'And you have come . . .?' she said. 'We are to 
believe in happy endings?' 

He shrugged, as the modest man should, who says : 
'If it depends on me'; but the words were firmly 
spoken and could be credited. 

'Janey is with her brother down at Lekkatts. Things 
are at a deadlock. A spice of danger, enough to relieve 
the dulness ; and where there is danger Janey's at home.' 
Henrietta mimicked her Janey. 'Parades with her 
brother at night ; old military cap on her head ; firearms 
primed ; sings her Austrian mountain songs or the Light 
Cavalry call, till it rings all day in my ears — she has a 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 449 

thrilling contralto: You are not to think her wild, my 
lord. She 's for adventure or domesticity, "whichever the 
Fates decree." She really is coming to the perfect tone.' 

'Speak of her,' said the earl. 'She can't yet over- 
look . . .?' 

' It 's in the family. She will overlook anything her 
brother excuses.' 

' I 'm here to see him.' 

'I heard it from Mr. Wythan.' 

'"Owain," I believe?' 

Henrietta sketched apologies, with a sidled head, soft 
pout, wavy hand. 'He belongs to the order of primitive 
people. His wife — the same pattern, one supposes — 
pledged them to their Christian names. The man is 
a simpleton, but a gentleman; and Janey holds his 
dying wife's wish sacred. We are all indebted to him.' 

'Whatever she thinks right !' said Fleetwood. 

The fair young woman's warm nature flew out to 
him on a sparkle of grateful tenderness in return for 
his magnanimity, oblivious of the inflamer it was : and 
her heart thanked him more warmly, without the perilous 
show of emotion, when she found herself secure. 

She was beautiful, she was tempting, and probably 
the weakest of players in the ancient game of two ; and 
clearly she was not disposed to the outlaw game; was 
only a creature of ardour. That he could see, seeing 
the misinterpretation a fellow like Brailstone would put 
upon a temporary flush of the feminine, and the advan- 
tage he would take of it, perhaps not unsuccessfully — 
the dog! He committed the absurdity of casting a 
mental imprecation at the cunning tricksters of emotional 
women, and yelled at himself in the worn old surplice 
of the converted rake. But letting his mind run this 
way, the tradito amor of the band outside the lady's 
window was instantly traced to Lord Brailstone; so 



450 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

convictingly, that he now became a very counsel for 
an injured husband in denunciation of the seductive 
compliment. 

Henrietta prepared to conduct him to Lekkatts; her 
bonnet was brought. She drew forth a letter from a 
silken work-bag, and raised it, — Livia's handwriting. 
' I 've written my opinion,' he said. 

'Not too severe, pray.' 

'Posted.' 

'Livia wanted a protector.' 

'And chose — what on earth are you saying !' 

Livia and her boyish lord were, abandoned on the 
spot, though Henrietta could have affirmed stoutly that 
there was much to be pleaded, if a female advocate dared 
it, and a man would but hear. 

His fingers were at the leaves of a Spanish dictionary. 

'Oh yes, and here we have a book of Travels in Spain,' 
she said. ' Everything Spanish for Janey now. You are 
aware? — no?' 

He was unaware and desired to be told. 

'Janey's latest idea; only she would have conceived 
the notion. You solve our puzzle, my lord.' 

She renewed the thanks she persisted in offering for 
the military music now just ceasing : vexatiously, con- 
sidering that it was bad policy for him to be unmasking 
Brailstone to her. At the same time, the blindness which 
rendered her unconscious of Brailstone's hand in sending 
members of a military band to play selections from the 
favourite opera they had jointly drunk of to ecstasy, 
was creditable ; touching, when one thought of the pur- 
suer's many devices, not omitting some treason on the 
part of her present friend. 

'Tell me— -I solve?' he said. 

Henrietta spied the donkey-basket bearing the two 
little ones. 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 451 

'Yes, I hope so — on our way down/ she made answer. 
'I want you to see the pair of love-birds in a nest.' 

The boy and girl were seen lying side by side, both 
fast asleep; fair-haired girl, dark-haired boy, faced to 
one another. 

'Temper?' said Fleetwood, when he had taken observa- 
tion of them. 

'Very imperious — Mr. Boy!' she replied, straighten- 
ing her back under a pretty frown, to convey the humour 
of the infant tyrant. 

The father's mind ran swiftly on a comparison of the 
destinies of the two children, from his estimate of their 
parents; many of Gower Woodseer's dicta converging 
to reawaken thoughts upon Nature's laws, which a 
knowledge of his own nature blackened. He had to 
persuade himself that this child of his was issue of a 
loving union; he had to do it violently, conjuring a 
vivid picture of the mother in bud, and his recognition 
of her young charm; the pain of keeping to his resolve 
to quit her, lest she should subjugate him and despoil 
him of his wrath ; the fatalism in his coming and going ; 
the romantic freak it had been, — a situation then so 
clearly wrought, now blurred past comprehension. But 
there must have been love, or some love on his part. 
Otherwise he was bound to pray for the mother to pre- 
dominate in the child, all but excluding its father. 

Carinthia's image, as a result, ascended sovereignly, 
and he hung to it. 

For if we are human creatures with consciences, 
nothing is more certain than that we make our task- 
masters of those to whom we have done a wrong, the phil- 
osopher says. Between Lord Feltre and Gower Wood- 
seer, influenced pretty equally by each of them, this 
young nobleman was wakening to the claims of others — 
Youth's infant conscience. Fleetwood now conceived 



452 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

the verbal supplication for his wife's forgiveness involved 
in the act of penance; and verbal meant abject; with 
him, going so far, it would mean naked, precise, no 
slurring. That he knew, and a tremor went over 
him. Women, then, are really the half of the world 
in power as much as in their number, if men pretend 
to a step above the savage. Or, well, his wife was 
a power. 

He had forgotten the puzzle spoken of by Henrietta, 
when she used the word again and expressed her happi- 
ness in the prospect before them — caused by his presence, 
of course. 

'You are aware, my dear lord, Janey worships her 
brother. He was defeated, by some dastardly contriv- 
ance, in a wager to do wonderful feats — ^for money ! 
money! money! a large stake. How we come off our 
high horses ! I hadn't an idea of money before I was 
married. I think of little else. My husband has notions 
of honour ; he engaged himself to pay a legacy of debts ; 
his uncle would not pay debts long due to him. He was 
reduced to the shift of wagering on his great strength 
and skill. He could have dpne it. His enemy managed 
— enemy there was! He had to sell out of the army 
in consequence. I shall never have Janey's face of suffer- 
ing away from my sight. He is a soldier above all things. 
It seems hard on me, but I cannot blame him for snatch- 
ing at an opportunity to win military distinction. He 
is in treaty for the post of aide to the Colonel — the 
General of the English contingent bound for Spain, for 
the cause of the Queen. My husband will undertake 
to be at the orders of his chief as soon as he can leave 
this place. Janey goes with him, according to present 
arrangements.' 

Passing through a turnstile, that led from the road 
across a meadow-slope to the broken land below, 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 453 

Henrietta had view of the earl's hard white face, and 
she hastened to say : ' You have altered that, my lord. 
She is devoted to her brother; and her brother running 
dangers . . . and danger in itself is an attraction to 
her. But her husband will have the first claim. She 
has her good sense. She will never insist on going, if 
you oppose. She will be ready to fill her station. It 
will be her pride and her pleasure.' 

Henrietta continued in the vein of these assurances; 
and Carinthia's character was shooting lightnings through 
him, withering that of the woman who referred to his 
wife's good sense and her station; and certainly would 
not have betrayed herself by such drawlings if she had 
been very positive that Carinthia's disposition toward 
wealth and luxury resembled hers. She knew the 
reverse; or so his contemptuously generous effort to 
frame an apology for the stuff he was hearing considered 
it. His wife was lost to him. That fact smote on his 
breast the moment he heard of her desire to go with 
' her brother. 

Wildest of enterprises ! But a criminal saw himself 
guilty of a large part in the disaster the two heroical 
souls were striving desperately to repair. If her Chillon 
went, Carinthia would go — sure as flame is drawn to 
air. The exceeding splendour in the character of a 
young woman, injured as she had been, soft to love, as 
he knew her, and giving her husband no other rival 
than a beloved brother, no ground of complaint save her 
devotion to her brother, pervaded him, without illumi- 
nating or lifting; rather with an indication of a foul 
contrast, that prostrated him. 

Half of our funny heathen lives we are bent double 
to gather things we have tossed away ! was one of the 
numbers of apposite sayings that hummed about him, 
for a chorus of the world's old wisdom in derision, when 



454 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

he descended the heathy path and had sight of Carinthia 
beside her Chillon. Would it be the same thing if he 
had it in hand again? Did he wish it to be the same? 
Was not he another man? By the leap of his heart to 
the woman standing down there, he was a better man ! 
But recent spiritual exercises brought him to see super- 
stitiously how by that sign she was lost to him; for 
everlastingly in this life the better pays for the worse; 
thus is the better a proved thing. 

Both Chillon and Carinthia, it is probable, might 
have been stirred to deeper than compassion, had the 
proud young nobleman taken them into his breast to 
the scouring of it; exposing the grounds of his former 
brutality, his gradual enlightenment, his ultimate ac- 
knowledgement of the pricelessness of the woman he 
had won to lose her. An imploring of forgiveness would 
not have been necessary with those two, however great 
their — or the woman's — astonishment at the revelation 
of an abysmal male humanity. A complete exposure 
of past meanness is the deed of present courage certain 
of its reward without as well as within; for then we 
show our fellows that the slough is cast. But life is a 
continuous fight; and members of the social world dis- 
play its degree of civilization by fighting in armour; 
most of them are born in it; and their armour is more 
sensitive than their skins. It was Fleetwood's instinct 
of his inability to fling it off utterly which warned him 
of his loss of the wife, whose- enthusiasm to wait on her 
brother in danger might have subsided into the channel 
of duty, even tenderness, had he been able resolutely to 
strip himself bare. This was the further impossible to 
him, because of a belief he now imposed upon himself, 
to cover the cowardly shrinking from so extreme a peni- 
tential act, that such confessions are due from men to 
the priest only, and that he could confess wholly and 



ON THE ROAD TO THE ACT OF PENANCE 455 

absolutely to the priest — to heaven, therefore, under seal, 
and in safety, but with perfect repentance. 

So, compelled to keep his inner self unknown, he 
fronted Chillon; courteously, in the somewhat lofty 
seeming of a guarded manner, he requested audience 
for a few minutes; observing the princely figure of 
the once hated man, and understanding Henrietta's 
sheer womanly choice of him; Carinthia's idolatry, 
too, as soon as he had spoken. The man was in his 
voice. 

Chillon said: 'It concerns my sister, I have to think. 
In that case, her wish is to be present. Your lordship 
will shorten the number of minutes for the interview by 
permitting it.' 

Fleetwood encountered Carinthia's eyes. They did 
not entreat or defy. They seconded her brother, and 
were a civil shining naught on her husband. He bowed 
his head, constrained, feeling heavily the two to one. 

She replied to the look: 'My brother and I have a 
single mind. We save time by speaking three together, 
my lord.' 

He was led into the long room of the workshop, where 
various patterns of muskets, rifles, pistols, and swords 
were stars, crosses, wedges, over the walls, and a var- 
nished wooden model of a piece of cannon occupied the 
middle place, on a block. 

Contempt of military weapons and ridicule of the art 
of war were common on those days among a people 
beginning to sit with habitual snugness at the festive 
board provided for them by the valour of their fathers. 
Fleetwood had not been on the side of the banqueting 
citizens, though his country's journals and her feasted 
popular wits made a powerful current to whelm opposi- 
tion. But the appearance of the woman, his wife, here, 
h^r head surrounded by destructive engines in the form 



456 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of trophy, and the knowledge that this woman bearing 
his name designed to be out at the heels of a foreign 
army or tag-rag of uniformed rascals, inspired him to 
reprobate men's bad old game as heartily as good 
sense does in the abstract, and as derisively as it is the 
way with comfortable islanders before the midnight 
trumpet-notes of panic have tumbled them to their legs. 
He took his chair, sickened. 

He was the next moment taking Carinthia's impres- 
sion of Ghillon, compelled to it by an admiration that 
men and women have alike for shapes of strength in the 
mould of grace, over whose firm build a flicker of agility 
seems to run. For the young soldier's figure was visibly 
in its repose prompt to action as the mind's movement. 
This was her brother ; her enthusiasm for her brother was 
explained to him. No sooner did he have the conception 
of it than it plucked at him painfully; and, feeling 
himself physically eclipsed by the object of Carinthia's 
enthusiasm, his pride of the rival counselled him to 
preserve the mask on what was going on within, lest 
it should be seen that he was also morally beaten at 
the outset. A trained observation told him, moreover, 
that her Chillon's correctly handsome features, despite 
their conventional urbanity, could knit to smite, and 
held less of the reserves of mercy behind them than 
Carinthia's glorious barbaric ruggedness. Her eyes, 
each time she looked at her brother, had, without doating, 
the light as of the rise of happy tears to the underlids : 
as they had on a certain day at the altar, when 'my lord' 
was 'my husband,' — more shyly then. He would have 
said, as beautifully, but for envy of the frank, pellucid 
worship in that look on her proved h^ro. It was the 
jewel of all the earth to win back to himself; and it 
subjected him, through his desire for it, to a measure- 
ment with her idol, in character, quality, strength, 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND CHILLON 457 

hardness. He heard the couple pronouncing sentence 
of his loss by anticipation. 

Why had she primed her brother to propose the council 
of three? Addressing them separately, he could have 
been his better or truer self. The sensation of the check 
imposed on him was instructive as to her craft and the 
direction of her wishes. She preferred the braving of 
hazards and horrors beside her brother, in scorn of the 
advantages he could offer; and he yearned to her for 
despising by comparison the bribe he proposed in the 
hope that he might win her to him. She was with 
religion to let him know the meanness of wealth. 

Thus, at the edge of the debate, or contest, the young 
lord's essential nobility disarmed him; and the reveal- 
ing of it, which would have appealed to Carinthia and 
ChUlon both, was forbidden by its constituent pride, 
which helped him to live and stood obstructing explana- 
tory speech. 



CHAPTER XLIV 

BETWEEN THE EARL, THE COUNTESS AND HER BROTHER, 
AND OF A SILVER CROSS 

Carinthia was pleased by hearing Lord Fleetwood say 
to her : ' Your Madge and my Gower are waiting to 
have the day named for them.' 

She said: 'I respect him so much for his choice of 
Madge. They shall not wait, if I am to decide.' 
'Old Mr. Woodseer has undertaken to join them.' 
'It is in Whitechapel they will be married.' 
The blow that struck was not intended, and Fleet- 
wood passed it, under her brother's judicial eye. Any 



458 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

small chance word may carry a sting for the neophyte in 
penitence. 

'My lawyers will send down the settlement on her, 
to be read to them to-day or to-morrow. With the 
interest on that and the sum he tells me he has in the 
Funds, they keep the wolf from the door — a cottage 
door. They have their cottage. There 's an old song 
of love in a cottage. His liking for it makes him seem 
wiser than his clever sayings. He '11 work in that 
cottage.' 

'They have a good friend to them in you, my lord. 
It will not be poverty for their simple wants. I hear 
of the little cottage in Surrey where they are to lodge 
at first, before they take one of their own.' 

'We will visit them.' 

'When I am in England I shall visit them often.' 

He submitted. 

'The man up here wounded is recovering?' 

'Yes, my lord. I am learning to nurse the wounded, 
with the surgeon to direct me.' 

'Matters are sobering down? — The workmen?' 

'They listen to reason so willingly when we speak 
personally, we find.' 

The earl addressed Chillon. 'Your project of a 
Spanish expedition reminds me of favourable reports 
of your chief.' 

'Thoroughly able and up to the work,' Chillon 
answered. 

' Queer people to meddle with.' 

'We 're on the right side on the dispute.' 

'It counts. Napoleon says. A Spanish civil war 
promises bloody doings.' 

'Any war does that.' 

' In the Peninsula it 's war to the knife, a merciless 
business.' 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND CHILLON 459 

'Good schooling for the profession.' 

Fleetwood glanced : she was collected and attentive. 
'I hear from Mrs. Levellier that Carinthia would like 
to be your companion.' 

'My sister has the making of a serviceable hospital 
nurse.' 

'You hear the chatter of London !' 

'I have heard it.' 

'You encourage her, Mr. Levellier?' 

'She will be useful — better there than here, my lord.' 

' I claim a part in the consultation.' 

'There 's no consultation; she determines to go.' 

' We can advise her of all the risks.' 

'She has weighed them, every one.' 

'In the event of accidents, the responsibility for 
having persuaded her would rest on you.' 

'My brother has not persuaded me,' Carinthia's bell- 
tones intervened. 'I proposed it. The persuasion was 
mine. It is my happiness to be near him, helping, if 
I can.' 

'Lady Fleetwood, I am entitled to think that your 
brother yielded to a request urged in ignorance of the 
nature of the risks a woman runs.' 

'My brother does not yield to a request without 
examining it all round, my lord, and I do not. I know 
the risks. An evil that we should not endure, — life may 
go. There can be no fear for me.' 

She spoke plain truth. The soul of this woman 
came out in its radiance to subdue him, as her visage 
sometimes did; and her voice enlarged her words. 
She was a warrior woman, Life her sword. Death her 
target, never to be put to shame, unconquerable. No 
such symbolical image smote him, but he had an im- 
pression, the prose of it. As in the scene of the miners' 
cottages, her lord could have knelt to her; and for an 



460 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

unprotesting longer space now. He choked a sigh, 
shrugged, and said, in the world's patient manner with 
mad people: 'You have set your mind on it; you see 
it rose-coloured. You would not fear, no, but your 
friends would have good reason to fear. It 's a menagerie 
in revolt over there. It is not really the place for you. 
Abandon the thought, I beg.' 

'I shall, if my brother does not go,' said Carinthia. 

Laughter of spite at a remark either silly or slyly 
defiant was checked in Fleetwood by the horror of the 
feeling that she had gone, was ankle-deep in bloody 
mire, captive, prey of a rabble soldiery, meditating the 
shot or stab of the blessed end out of woman's half of 
our human muddle. 

He said to. Chillon: 'Pardon me, war is a detestable 
game. Women in the thick of it add a touch to the 
brutal hideousness of the whole thing.' 

Chillon said: 'We are all of that opinion. Men 
have to play the game; women serving in hospital 
make it humaner.' 

'Their hospitals are not safe.' 

'Well! Safety!' 

For safety is nowhere to be had. But the earl 
pleaded : 'At least in our country.' 

'In our country women are safe?' 

'They are, we may say, protected.' 

' Laws and constables are poor protection for them.' 

'The women we name ladies are pretty safe, as a rule.' 

'My sister, then, was the exception.' 

After a burning half minute the earl said: 'I have 
to hear it from you, Mr. Levellier. You see me here.' 

That was handsomely spoken. But Lord Fleetwood 
had been judged and put aside. His opening of an old 
case to hint at repentance for brutality annoyed the 
man who had let him go scathless for a sister's sake. 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND CHILLON 461 

'The grounds of your coming, my lord, are not seen; 
my time is short.' 

'I must, I repeat, be consulted with regard to Lady 
Fleetwood's movements.' 

' My sister does not acknowledge your claim.' 

'The Countess of Fleetwood's acts involve her hus- 
band.' 

'One has to listen at times to what old sailors call 
Caribbee!' Chillon exclaimed impatiently, half aloud. 
'My sister received your title; she has to support it. 
She did not receive the treatment of a wife: — or lady, 
or woman, or domestic animal. The bond is broken, 
as far as it bears on her subjection. She holds to the 
rite, thinks it sacred. You can be at rest as to her 
behaviour. In other respects, your lordship does not 
exist for her.' 

' The father of her child must exist for her.' 

'You raise that curtain, my lord !' 

In the presence of three it would not bear a shaking. 

Carinthia said, in pity of his torture : — 

'I have my freedom, and am thankful for it, to follow 
my brother, to share his dangers with him. That is 
more to me than luxury and the married state. I take 
only my freedom.' 

' Our boy ? You take the boy ? ' 

'My child is with my sister Henrietta.' 

'Where?' 

'We none know yet.' 

'You still mistrust me?' 

Her eyes were on a man that she had put from her 
peaceably; and she replied, with sweetness in his ears, 
with shocks to a sinking heart, 'My lord, you may leam 
to be a gentle father to the child. I pray you may. My 
brother and I will go. If it is death for us, I pray my 
child may have his father, and God directing his father.' 



462 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Her speech had the clang of the final. 

'Yes, I hope — if it be the worst happening, I pray, 
too,' said he, and drooped and brightened desperately: 
'But you, too, Carinthia, you could aid by staying, by 
being with the boy and me. Carinthia !' he clasped 
her name, the vapour left to him of her : 'I have learnt 
— ^learnt what I am, what you are; I have to climb a 
height to win back the wife I threw away. She was 
unknown to me ; I to myself nearly as much. I sent 
a warning of the kind of husband for you — a poor kind ; 
I just knew myself well enough for that. You claimed 
my word — the blessing of my life, if I had known it ! 
We were married; I played — I see the beast I played. 
Money is power, they say. I see the means it is to damn 
the soul, unless we — unless a man does what I do now.' 

Fleetwood stopped. He had never spoken such 
words — arterial words, as they were, though the com- 
monest; and with moist brows, dry lips, he could have 
resumed, have said more, have taken this woman, this 
dream of the former bride, the present stranger, into 
his chamber of the brave aims and sentenced deeds. 
Her brother in the room was the barrier; and she sat 
mute, large-eyed, expressionless. He had plunged low 
in the man's hearing; the air of his lungs was thick, 
hard to breathe, for shame of a degradation so extreme. 

Chillon imagined him to be sighing. He had to listen 
further. 'Soul' had been an uttered word. When the 
dishonouring and mishandling brute of a young noble- 
man stuttered a compliment to Carinthia on her 'faith 
in God's assistance and the eflScacy of prayer,' he jumped 
to his legs, not to be shouting ' Hound !' at him. He 
said, under control: 'God's name shall be left to the 
Church. My sister need not be further troubled. She 
has shown she is not persuaded by me. Matters arranged 
here quickly, — we start. If I am asked whether I think 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND CHILLON 463 

she does wisely to run the risks in an insurrectionary 
country rather than remain at home exposed to the 
honours and amusements your lordship offers, I think so ; 
she is acting in her best interests. She has the choice 
of being abroad with me or staying here unguarded by 
me. She has had her experience. She chooses rightly. 
Paint the risks she runs, you lay the colours on those she 
escapes. She thanks the treatment she has undergone 
for her freedom to choose. I am responsible for nothing 
but the not having stood against her most wretched 
marriage. It might have been foreseen. Out there in 
the war she is protected. Here she is with — I spare 
your lordship the name.' 

Fleetwood would have heard harsher had he not 
been Carinthia's husband. He withheld his reply. 
The language moved him to proud hostility : but the 
speaker was Carinthia's brother. 

He said to her: 'You won't forget Gower and 
Madge?' 

She gave him a smile in saying: 'It shall be settled 
for a day after next week.' 

The forms of courtesy were exchanged. 

At the closing of the door on him, Chillon said : ' He 
did send a message : I gathered it — without the words 
— ^from our Uncle Griphard. I thought him in honour 
bound to you — and it suited me that I shoud.' 

'I was a blindfold girl, dearest; no warning would 
have given me sight,' said Carinthia. 'That was my 
treachery to the love of my brother. I dream of father 
and mother reproaching me.' 

The misery of her time in England had darkened her 
mind's picture of the early hour with Chillon on the 
heights above the forsaken old home; and the enthu- 
siasm of her renewed devotion to her brother giving it 
again, as no light of a lost Eden, as the brilliant step 



464 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

she was taking with him from their morning Eastern 
Alps to smoky-crimson Pyrenees and Spanish sierras; 
she could imagine the cavernous interval her punish- 
ment for having abandoned a sister's duties in the quest 
of personal happiness. 

But simultaneously, the growing force of her mind's 
intelligence, wherein was no enthusiasm to misdirect 
by overcolouring, enabled her to gather more than a 
suspicion of comparative feebleness in the man stripped 
of his terrors. She penetrated the discrowned tyrant's 
nature some distance, deep enough to be quit of her 
foregoing alarms. These, combined with his assured 
high style, had woven him the magical coat, threadbare 
to quiet scrutiny. She matched him beside her brother. 
The dwarfed object was then observed; and it was not 
for a woman to measure herself beside him. She came, 
however, of a powerful blood, and he was pressing her 
back on her resources : without the measurement or a 
thought of it, she did that which is the most ordinary 
and the least noticed of our daily acts in civilized inter- 
course, she subjected him to the trial of the elements 
composing him, by collision with what she felt of her 
own; and it was because she felt them strongly, aware 
of her feeling them, but unaware of any conflict, that 
the wrestle occurred. She flung him, pitied him, and 
passed on along her path elsewhere. This can be done 
when love is gone. It is done more or less at any meet- 
ing of men and men; and men and women who love 
not are perpetually doing it, unconsciously or sensibly. 
Even in their love, a time for the trial arrives among 
certain of them; and the leadership is assumed, and 
submission ensues, tacitly; nothing of the contention 
being spoken, perhaps, nothing definitely known. 

In Carinthia's case, her revived enthusiasm for her 
brother drove to the penetration of the husband pleading 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND GHILLON 465 

to thwart its course. His offer was wealth : that is, 
luxury, amusement, ease. The sub-audible 'himself 
into the bargain was disregarded, not counting with 
one who was an upward rush of fire at the thought that 
she was called to share her brother's dangers. 

Chillon cordially believed the earl to be the pestilent 
half madman, junction with whom is a constant trepida- 
tion for the wife, when it is not a screaming plight. 
He said so, and Carinthia let him retain his opinion. 
She would have said it herself to support her scheme, 
though 'mad' applied to a man moving in the world 
with other men was not understood by her. 

With Henrietta for the earl's advocate, she was 
patient as the deaf rock-wall enthusiam can be against 
entreaties to change its direction or bid it disperse. 
The 'private band of picked musicians' at the disposal 
of the Countess of Fleetwood, and Opera singers (Hen- 
rietta mentioned resonant names) hired for wonderful 
nights at Esslemont and Calesford or on board the 
earl's beautiful schooner yacht, were no temptation. 
Nor did Henrietta's allusions to his broken appearance 
move his wife, except in her saying regretfully : ' He 
changes.' 

On the hall table at Esslemont, a letter from his 
bankers informed the earl of a considerable sum of 
money paid in to his account in the name of Lord Brail- 
stone. Chumley Potts, hanging at him like a dog without 
a master since the death of his friend Ambrose, had 
journeyed down : 'Anxious about you,' he said. Anxious 
about or attracted by the possessor of Ambrose Mallard's 
'clean sweeper,' the sUver-mounted small pistol; sight 
of which he begged to have ; and he lengthened his jaw 
on hearing it was loaded. A loaded pistol, this dark 
little one to the right of the earl's blotting-pad and pens, 
had the look of a fearful link with his fallen chaps and 



466 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

fishy hue. Potts maundered moralities upon 'life/ 
holding the thing in his hand, weighing it, eyeing the 
muzzle. He ' couldn't help thinking of what is going 
to happen to us after it all' : and 'Brosey knows now !' 
was followed by a twitch of one cheek and the ejaculation : 
'Forever!' Fleetwood alive and Ambrose dead were 
plucking the startled worldling to a peep over the verge 
into our abyss; and the young lord's evident doing of 
the same commanded Chumley Potts' imitation of him 
under the cloud Ambrose had become for both of 
them. 

He was recommended to see Lord Feltre, if he had a 
desire to be instructed on the subject of the mitigation 
of our pains in the regions below. Potts affirmed that 
he meant to die a Protestant Christian. Thereupon, 
carrying a leaden burden of unlaughed laughable stuff 
in his breast, and Chummy's concluding remark to speed 
him: 'Damn it, no, we'll stick to our religion!' Fleet- 
wood strode off to his library, and with the names of 
the Ixionides of his acquaintance ringing round his 
head, proceeded to strike one of them off the number 
privileged at the moment to intrude on him. Others 
would follow; this one must be the first to go. He 
wrote the famous letter to Lord Brailstone, which de- 
barred the wily pursuer from any pretext to be running 
down into Mrs. Levellier's neighbourhood, and also 
precluded the chance of his meeting the fair lady at 
Calesford. With the brevity equivalent to the flick 
of a glove on the cheek. Lord Brailstone was given to 
understand by Lord Fleetwood that relations were at 
an end between them. No explanation was added; a 
single sentence executed the work, and in the third 
person. He did not once reflect on the outcry in the 
ear of London coming from the receiver of such a letter 
upon payment of a debt. 



THE EARL, THE COUNTESS, AND CHILLON 467 

The letter posted and flying, Lord Fleetwood was 
kinder to Chumley Potts; he had a friendly word for 
Gower Woodseer; though both were heathens, after 
their diverse fashions, neither of them likely ever to set 
out upon the grand old road of Rome: Lord Feltre's 
' Appian Way of the Saints and Comforters.' 

Chummy was pardoned when they separated at night 
for his reiterated allusions to the temptation of poor 
Ambrose Mallard's conclusive little weapon lying on 
the library table within reach of a man's arm-chair : in 
its case, and the case locked, yes, but easily opened, 
'provoking every damnable sort of mortal curiosity!' 
The soundest men among us have their fits of the blues, 
Fleetwood was told. 'Not wholesome!' Chummy 
shook his head resolutely, and made himself compre- 
hensibly mysterious. He meant well. He begged his 
old friend to promise he would unload and keep it un- 
loaded. 'For I know the infernal worry you have — 
deuced deal worse than a night's bad luck!' said he; 
and Fleetwood smiled sourly at the world's total igno- 
rance of causes. His wretchedness was due now to the 
fact that the aforetime huntress refused to be captured. 
He took a silver cross from a table-drawer amd laid it on 
the pistol-case. 'There, Chummy,' he said; that was 
all; not sermonizing or proselytizing. He was partly 
comprehended by Chumley Potts, fully a week later. 
The unsuspecting fellow, soon to be despatched in the 
suite of Brailstone, bore away an unwontedly affectionate 
dismissal to his bed, and spoke some rather squeamish 
words himself, as he recollected with disgust when he 
ran about over London repeating his executioner's. 

The Cross on the pistol-case may have conduced to 
Lord Fleetwood's thought, that his days among unre- 
pentant ephemeral Protestant sinners must have their 
immediate termination. These old friends were the 



468 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

plague-infected clothes he flung off his body. But the 
Cross where it lay, forbidding a movement of the hand 
to that box, was authoritative to decree his passage 
through a present torture, by the agency of the hand 
he held back from the solution of his perplexity, at 
the cost which his belief in the Eternal would pay. 
Henrietta had mentioned her husband's defeat, by some 
dastardly contrivance. He had to communicate, for 
the disburdening of his soul, not only that he was guilty, 
but the meanest of criminals, in being no more than 
half guilty. His training told him of the contempt 
women entertain toward the midway or cripple sinner, 
when they have no special desire to think him innocent. 
How write, or even how phrase his having merely breathed 
in his rufi&an's hearing the wish that he might hear of 
her husband's defeat! And with what object? Here, 
too, a woman might, years hence, if not forgive, bend 
her head resignedly over the man's vile nature, sup- 
posing strong passion his motive. But the name for 
the actual motive? It would not bear writing, or any 
phrasing round it. An unsceptred despot bidden take 
a fair woman's eyes into his breast, saw and shrank. 
And now the eyes were Carinthia's : he saw a savage 
bridegroom, and a black ladder-climber, and the sweetest 
of pardoning brides, and the devU in him still insatiate 
for revenge upon her who held him to his word. 

He wrote, read, tore the page, trimmed the lamp, and 
wrote again. He remembered Gower Woodseer's having 
warned him he would finish his career a monk. Not, 
like Feltre, an oily convert, but under the hood, yes, 
and extracting a chartreuse from his ramble through 
woods richer far than the philosopher's milk of Mother 
Nature's bosom. There flamed the burning signal of 
release from his torments; there his absolving refuge, 
instead of his writing fruitless, intricate, impossible stuff 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 469 

to a woman. The letter was renounced and shredded: 
the dedicated ascetic contemplated a hooded shape, 
washed of every earthly fleck. It proved how men may 
by power of grip squeeze raptures out of pain. 



CHAPTER XLV 

CONTAINS A EECORD OF WHAT WAS FEARED, WHAT WAS 
HOPED, AND WHAT HAPPENED 

The Dame is at her thumps for attention to be called 
to 'the strangeness of it,' that a poor, small, sparse 
village, hardly above a hamlet, on the most unproduc:- 
tive of Kentish heights, part of old forest land, should 
at this period become 'the cynosure of a city beautifully 
named by the poet Great Augusta, and truly indeed the 
world's metropolis.' 

Put aside her artful pother to rouse excitement at 
stages of a narrative, London's general eye upon little 
Croridge was but another instance of the extraordinary 
and not so wonderful. Lady Arpington, equal to a 
Parliament in herself, spoke of the place and the countess 
courted by her repentant lord. Brailstone and Chumley 
Potts were town criers of the executioner letter each 
had received from the earl; Potts with his chatter of a 
suicide's pistol kept loaded in a case under a two-inch- 
long silver Cross, and with sundry dramatic taps on the 
forehead, dottings over the breast, and awful grimace of 
devoutness. There was no mistaking him. The young 
nobleman of the millions was watched; the town spy- 
glass had him in its orbit. Tales of the ancestral Fleet- 
woods ran beside rumours of a Papist priest at the bed- 
side of the Foredoomed to Error's dying mother. His 



470 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

wealth was counted, multiplied by the ready naughts 
of those who know little and dread much. Sir Meeson 
Corby referred to an argument Lord Fleetwood had held 
on an occasion hotly against the logical consistency of 
the Protestant faith; and to his alarm lest some day 
'all that immense amount of money should slip away 
from us to favour the machinations of Roman Cathol- 
icism!' The Countess of Cressett, Livia, anticipated 
her no surprise at anything Lord Fleetwood might do: 
she knew him. 

So thereupon, with the whirr of a covey on wing 
before the fowler, our crested three of immemorial antiq- 
uity and a presumptive immortality, the Ladies Endor, 
Eldritch, and Cowry, shot up again, hooting across the 
dormant chief city Old England's fell word of the scarlet 
shimmer above the nether pit-flames, Rome. An ancient 
horror in the blood of the population, conceiving the word 
to signify, beak, fang, and claw, the fiendish ancient 
enemy of the roasting day of yore, heard and echoed. 
Sleepless at the work of the sapper, in preparation for 
the tiger's leap, Rome is keen to spy the foothold of 
English stability, and her clasp of a pillar of the structure 
sends tremors to our foundations. 

The coupling of Rome and England's wealthiest 
nobleman struck a match to terrorize the Fire Insur- 
ance of Smithfield. That meteoric, intractable, perhaps 
wicked, but popular, reputedly clever, manifestly evil- 
starred, enormously wealthy, young Earl of Fleetwood, 
wedded to an adventuress, and a target for the scandals 
emanating from the woman, was daily, without omission 
of a day, seen walking Piccadilly pavement in company 
once more with the pervert, the Jesuit agent, that crafty 
Catesby of a Lord Feltre, arm in arm the pair of them, 
and uninterruptedly conversing, utterly unlike English- 
men. Mr. Rose Mackrell passed them, and his breezy 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 471 

salutation of the earl was unobserved in my lord's vacant 
glass optics, as he sketched the scene. London had 
report of the sinister tempter and the imperilled young 
probationer undisguisedly entering the Roman Catholic 
chapel of a fashionable district — chapel erected on per- 
vert's legacies, down a small street at the corner of a 
grandee square, by tolerance or connivance of our con- 
stabulary, — entering it linked; and hnked they issued, 
their heads bent; for the operation of the tonsure, you 
would say. Two English noblemen! But is there no 
legislation to stop the disease? Our female government 
asks it vixenly of our impotent male; which pretends, 
beneath an air of sympathy, that we should abstain from 
any compulsory action upon the law to interfere, though 
the situation is confessedly grave; and the aspect men 
assume is correspondingly, to the last degree provok- 
ingly, grave — half alive that they are, or void of patriot- 
ism, or Babylonian at heart ! 

Lord Fleetwood's yet undocked old associates vowed 
he 'smelt strong' of the fumes of the whirled silver 
censer-balls. His disfavour had caused a stoppage of 
supplies, causing vociferous abomination of their success- 
ful rivals, the Romish priests. Captain Abrane sniffed, 
loud as a horse, condemnatory as a cat, in speaking of 
him. He said : ' By George, it comes to this ; we shall 
have to turn Catholics for a loan!' Watchdogs of the 
three repeated the gigantic gambler's melancholy roar. 
And, see what gap, cried the ratiocination of alarm, see 
the landslip it is in our body, national and religious, 
when exalted personages go that way to Rome ! 

As you and the world have reflected in your sager 
moods, an ordinary pebble may roll y?here it likes, for 
individualism of the multitudinously obscure little affects 
us. Not SQ the costly jewel, which is a congregation of 
ourselves, in our envies and longings and genuflexions 



472 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

thick about its lustres. The lapses of precious things 
must needs carry us, both by weight and example, and 
it will ceaselessly be, that we are possessed by the treasure 
we possess, we hang on it. A still, small voice of Eng- 
land's mind under panic sent up these truisms contain- 
ing admonitions to the governing Ladies. They, the 
most conservative of earthly bodies, clamoured in return, 
like cloud-scud witches that have caught fire at their 
skirts from the torches of marsh-fire radicals. They 
cited for his arrest the titled millionaire who made a 
slide for the idiots of the kingdom ; they stigmatized our 
liberty as a sophistry, unless we have in it the sustaining 
element of justice ; — and where is the justice that punishes 
his country for any fatal course a mad young CrcESus 
may take ! They shackled the hands of testators, who 
endangered the salvation of coroneted boys by having 
sanction to bequeath vast wealth in bulk. They said, 
in truth, that it was the liberty to be un-Christian. 
Finally, they screeched a petitioning of Parliament to 
devote a night to a sitting, and empower the Lord Chan- 
cellor to lay an embargo on the personal as well as the 
real estate of wealthy perverts; in common prudence 
depriving Rome of the coveted means to turn our re- 
ligious weapons against us. 

The three guardian ladies and their strings of followers 
headed over the fevered and benighted town, as the 
records of the period attest, windpiping these and similar 
Solan notes from the undigested cropful of alarms Lord 
Fleetwood's expected conduct crammed into them. 
They and all the world traced his present madness to the 
act foregoing : that marriage ! They reviewed it to 
deplore it, every, known incident and the numbers 
imagined ; yet merely to deplore : frightful comparisons 
of then with now rendered the historical shock to the 
marriage market matter for a sick smile. Evil genius 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 473 

of some sort beside him the wealthy young nobleman 
is sure to have. He has got rid of one to take up with 
a viler. First, a sluttish trollop of German origin is 
foisted on him for life ; next, he is misled to abjure the 
faith of his fathers for Rome. But patently, desperation 
in the husband of such a wife weakened his resistance to 
the Roman Catholic pervert's insinuations. There we 
punctuate the full stop to our inquiries; we have the 
secret. 

And upon that, suddenly comes a cyclonic gust; 
and gossip twirls, whines, and falls to the twanging 
of an entirely new set of notes, that furnish a tolerably 
agreeable tune, on the whole. hear! The Mar- 
chioness of A.rpington proclaims not merely acquaint- 
anceship with Lord Fleetwood's countess, she professes 
esteem for the young person. She has been heard to say, 
that if the Principality of Wales were not a royal title, 
a dignity of the kind would be conferred by the people 
of those mountains on the Countess of Fleetwood : 
such unbounded enthusiasm there was for her char- 
acter when she sojourned down there. As it is, they do 
speak of her in their Welsh by some title. Their bards 
are offered prizes to celebrate her deeds. You remember 
the regiment of mounted Welsh gentlemen escorting her 
to her Kentish seat, with their band of the three-stringed 
harps ! She is well-born, educated, handsome, a per- 
fectly honest woman, and a sound Protestant. Quite 
the reverse of Lord Fleetwood's seeking to escape her, 
it is she who flies; she cannot forgive him his cruelties 
and infidelities : and that is the reason why he threatens 
to commit the act of despair. Only she can save him ! 
She has flown for refuge to her uncle, Lord Levellier's 
house at a place named Croridge — not in the gazetteer — 
hard of access and a home of poachers, where shooting 
goes on hourly; but most picturesque and romantic, as 



474 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

she herself is ! Lady Arpington found her there, nursing 
one of the wounded, and her uncle on his death-bed; 
obdurate all round against her husband, but pensive 
when supplicated to consider her country endangered 
by Rome. She is a fervent patriot. The tales of her 
Whitechapel origin, and heading mobs wielding bludgeons, 
are absolutely false, traceable to scandalizing anecdotists 
like Mr. Rose Mackrell. She is the beautiful example 
of an injured wife doing honour to her sex in the punish- 
ment of a faithless husband, yet so little cherishing her 
natural right to deal him retribution, that we dare hope 
she will listen to her patriotic duty in consenting to the 
reconcilement, which is Lord Fleetwood's alternative : — 
his wife or Rome ! They say she has an incommunicable 
charm, accounting for the price he puts on her now she 
holds aloof and he misses it. Let her but rescue him 
from England's most vigilant of her deadly enemies, 
she will be entitled to the nation's lasting gratitude. She 
has her opportunity for winning the Anglican English, 
as formerly she won the Dissenter Welsh. She may 
yet be the means of leading back the latter to our 
fold. 

A notation of the cries in air at a time of surgent 
public excitement can hardly yield us music; and the 
wording of them, by the aid of compounds and trans- 
plants, metaphors and similes only just within range 
of the arrows of Phoebus' bow (i.e. the farthest flight 
known), would, while it might imitate the latent poetry, 
expose venturesome writers to the wrath of a people 
commendably believing their language a perfected 
instrument when they prefer the request for a plateful, 
and commissioning thfeir literary police to brain audacious 
experimenters who enlarge or wing it beyond the down- 
right aim at that mark. The gossip of the time must 
therefore appear commonplace, in resemblance to the 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 475 

panting ventre a terre of the toad, instead of the fiery- 
steed's; although we have documentary evidence that 
our country's heart was moved ; — ' in no common degree/ 
Dr. Glossop's lucid English has it, at the head of a broad- 
sheet ballad discovered by him , wherein the connubially 
inclined young earl and the nation in turn beseech the 
countess to resume her place at Esslemont, and so save 
both from a terrific dragon's jaw, scarlet as the infernal 
flames ; described as fascinating — 

' The classes with the crests, 
And the lining to their vests. 
Till down they jump, and empty leave 
A headless trunk that rests.' 

These ballads, burlesque to present reading, mainly 
intended for burlesque by the wits who dogged without 
much enlivening an anxious period of our history, when 
corner-stones were falling the way the young lord of 
the millions threatened to go, did, there is little doubt, 
according to another part of their design (Rose Mackrell 
boasts it indirectly in his Memoirs), interpret public 
opinion, that is, the English humour of it — the half 
laugh in their passing and not simulated shudder. 

Carinthia had a study of the humours of English 
character in the person of the wounded man she nursed 
on little Croridge, imagining it the most unobserved of 
English homes, and herself as unimportant an object. 
Daniel Chamer took his wound, as he took his medicine 
and his posset from her hand, kindly, and seemed to have 
a charitable understanding of Lord Levellier now that 
the old nobleman had driven a pellet of lead into him 
and laid him flat. It pleased him to assure her that his 
mates were men of their word, and had promised to pay 
the old lord with a 'rouse' for it, nothing worse. Her 
father used to speak of the 'clean hearts of the English' 



476 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

as to the husbanding of revenge; that is, the 'no spot 
of bad blood' to vitiate them. Captain John Peter 
seconded all good-humoured fighters 'for the long 
account': they will surely win; and it was one of his 
maxims : ' My foe can spoil my face ; he beats me if he 
spoils my temper.' 

Recalling the scene of her bridal day — the two strong 
Englishmen at the shake of hands, that had spoiled one 
another's faces, she was enlightened with a compre- 
hension of her father's love for the people; seeing the 
spiritual of the gross ugly picture, as not every man can 
do, and but a warrior Joan among women. Chillon shall 
teach the Spanish people English heartiness, she thought. 
Lord Fleetwood's remarks on the expedition would have 
sufficed to stamp it righteous with her ; that was her logic 
of the low valuation of him. She fancied herself abso- 
lutely released at his departure. Neither her sister Riette 
nor her friend Owain, administering sentiment and 
common sense to her by turns, could conceive how the 
passion for the recovery of her brother's military name 
fed the hope that she might aid in it, how the hope fed 
the passion. She had besides her hunger to be at the 
work she could do; her Ghillon's glory for morning sky 
above it. 

Such was the mind Lady Arpington brought the 
world's wisdom to bear upon; deeming it in the end 
female only in its wildness and obstinacy. Carinthia's 
answers were few, barely varied. Her repetition of 'my 
brother* irritated the great lady, whose argument was 
directed to make her see that these duties toward her 
brother were primarily owing to her husband, the man 
she would reclaim and could guide. And the Countess 
of Fleetwood's position, her duty to society, her dis- 
pensing of splendid hospitality, the strengthening of her 
husband to do his duty to the nation, the saving of him 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 477 

from a fatal step — ^f rom Rome ; these were considerations 
for a reasonble woman to weigh before she threw up all 
to be off on the maddest of adventures. ' Inconceivable, 
my dear child!' Lady Arpington proceeded until she 
heard herself as droning. 

Carinthia's unmoved aspect of courteous attention 
appeared to invoke the prolongation of the sermon it 
criticized. It had an air of reversing their positions 
while she listened to the charge of folly, and incidentally 
replied. 

Her reason for not fearing Roman Catholic encroach- 
ments was, she said, her having known good Catholics 
in the country she came from. For herself, she should 
die professing the faith of her father and mother. Behind 
her correct demeanour a rustic intelligence was exhibited. 
She appreciated her duty to her marriage oath : ' My 
husband's honour is quite safe with me.' Neither Eng- 
land nor religion, nor woman's proper devotion to a hus- 
band's temporal and spiritual welfare, had claims rivalling 
her devotion to her brother. She could not explain a 
devotion that instigated her to an insensate course. It 
seemed a kind of enthusiasm ; and it was coldly spoken ; 
in the tone referring to 'her husband's honour.' Her 
brother's enterprise had her approval because 'her 
mother's prayer was for him to serve in the English army.' 
By running over to take a side in a Spanish squabble? 
she was asked and answered : ' He will learn war ; my 
Chillon will show his value; he will come back a tried 
soldier.' 

She counted on his coming back? She did. 

'I cannot take a step forward without counting on 
success. We know the chances we are to meet. My 
father has written of death. We do not fear it, so it 
is nothing to us. We shall go together; we shall not 
have to weep for one another.' 



478 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

The strange young woman's avoidance of any popular 
sniffle of the pathetic had a recognized merit. 

'Tell me,' Lady Arpington said abruptly; 'this 
maid of yours, who is to marry the secretary, or what- 
ever he was — you are satisfied with her?' 

'She is my dear servant Madge.' A cloud opened 
as Carinthia spoke the name. 'She will be a true wife 
to him. They will always be my friends !' 

Nothing against the earl in that direction, apparently ; 
unless his countess was blest with the density of frigidity. 

Society's emissary sketched its perils for unprotected 
beautiful woman; an outline of the London quadrille 
Henrietta danced in; and she glanced at Carinthia and 
asked : ' Have you thought of it ? ' 

Carinthia's eyes were on the great lady's. Their 
meaning was, 'You hit my chief thought.' They were 
read as her farthest thought. For the hint of Henrietta's 
weakness deadened her feelings with a reminder of warm 
and continued solicitations rebutted; the beautiful 
creature's tortures at the idea of her exile from England. 
An outwearied hopelessness expressed a passive senti- 
ment very like indifference in the clear wide gaze. She 
replied: 'I have. My proposal to her was Cadiz, with 
both our young ones. She will not.' 

And there is an end to that part of the question! 
Lady Arpington interpreted it, by the gaze more than 
the words, under subjection of the young woman's char- 
acter. Nevertheless, she bore away Carinthia's consent 
to a final meeting with the earl at her house in London, 
as soon as things were settled at Croridge. Chillon, 
whom she saw, was just as hard, unforgiving, careless 
of his country's dearest interests; brother and sister 
were one heart of their one blood. She mentioned the 
general impression in town, that the countess and only 
she could save the earl from Rome. A flash of polite 



A RECORD OF WHAT HAPPENED 479 

laughter was Chilloni's response. But after her in- 
spection of the elegant athlete, she did fancy it possible 
for a young wife, even for Henrietta, to bear his name 
proudly in his absence — if that was worth a moment's 
consideration beside the serious issues involved in her 
appeal to the countess; especially when the suggestion 
regarding young wives left unprotected, delicately con- 
veyed to the husband, had failed of its purpose. The 
handsome husband's brows fluttered an interrogation, 
as if her clear-obscure should be further lighted; and 
it could not be done. He weighed the wife by the 
measure of the sister, perhaps; or his military head 
had no room for either. His callousness to the danger 
of his country's disintegration, from the incessant, be- 
coming overt, attacks of a foreign priesthood might — 
an indignant great lady's precipitation to prophecy said 
would — bring chastisement on him. She said it, and 
she liked Henrietta, vowing to defeat her forecast as 
well as she could in a land seeming forsaken by stable 
principles; its nobles breaking up its national church, 
going over to Rome, embracing the faith of the impostor 
Mahomet. 

Gossip fed to the starvation bone of Lady Arpington's 
report, until one late afternoon, memorable for the 
breeding heat in the van of elemental artUlery, news- 
boys waved damp sheets of fresh print through the 
streets, and society's guardians were brought to confess, 
in shame and gladness, that they had been growing 
sceptical of the active assistance of Providence. At first 
the 'Terrible explosion of gunpowder at Croridge' 
alarmed them lest the timely Power should have done too 
much. A day later the general agitation was pacified; 
Lady Arpington circulated the word 'safe,' and the 
world knew the disaster had not engulphed Lady Fleet- 
wood's valuable life. She had the news by word of 



480 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

mouth from the lovely Mrs. Kirby-Levellier, sister-in- 
law to the countess. We are convinced we have proof 
of Providence intervening when some terrific event of 
the number at its disposal accomplishes the thing and 
no more than the thing desired. Pitiful though it may 
seem for a miserly old lord to be blown up in his bed, 
it is necessarily a subject of congratulation if the life, 
or poor reinnant of a life, sacrificed was an impediment 
to our righteous wishes. But this is a theme for the 
Dame, who would full surely have committed another 
breach of the treaty, had there not been allusion to her 
sisterhood's view of the government of human affairs. 

On the day preceding the catastrophe, Chillon's men 
returned to work. He and Carinthia and Mr. Wythan 
lunched with Henrietta at Stoneridge. Walking down 
to Lekkatts, they were astounded to see the figure of 
the spectral old lord on the plank to the powder store, 
clad in his long black cloak, erect. He was crossing, he 
told them, to count his barrels; a dream had disturbed 
■him. Chillon fell to rapid talk upon various points of 
business, and dispersed Lord Levellier's memory relating 
to his errand. Leaning on Carinthia's arm, he went 
back to the house, where he was put to bed in peace of 
mind. His resuscitated physical vigour blocked all 
speculation for the young people assembled at Stoneridge 
that night. They hardly spoke ; they strangled thoughts 
forming as larvae of wishes. Henrietta would be away 
to Lady Arpington's next day, Mr. Wythan to Wales. 
The two voyagers were sadder by sympathy than the 
two whom they were leaving to the clock's round of desert 
sameness. About ten at night Chillon and Mr. Wythan 
escorted Carinthia, for the night's watch beside her uncle, 
down to Lekkatts. It was midway that the knocks on 
air, as of a muffled mallet at a door and at farther doors 
of caverns, smote their ears and shook the ground. 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 481 

After an instant of the silence following a shock, 
Carinthia touched her brother's arm ; and Chillon said : 
'Not my powder!' 

They ran 'till they had Lekkatts in sight. A half moon 
showed the house; it stood. Fifty paces below, a 
column of opal smoke had begun to wreathe and stretch 
a languid flag. The 'rouse' promised to Lord Levellier 
by Daniel Chamer's humorous mates had hit beyond 
its aim. Intended to give him a start — or 'One-er in 
return,' it surpassed his angry shot at the body of them 
in effect. 

Carinthia entered his room and saw that he was lying 
stretched restfully. She whispered of this to Chillon, 
and began upon her watch, reading her Spanish phrase- 
book ; and she could have wept, if she had been a woman 
for tears. Her duty to stay in England with Chillon's 
fair wife crossed the beckoning pages like a black smoke. 
Her passion to go and share her brother's dangers left 
the question of its righteousness at each fall of the big 
breath. 

Her uncle's grey head on his pillow was like a flint- 
stone in chalk under her look by light of dawn; the 
chin had dropped. 



CHAPTER XLVI 

A CHAPTEB OF TJNDEKCXTEBENTS AND SOME SUBFACE 
FLASHES 

Thus a round and a good old English practical repar- 
tee, worthy a place in England's book of her historical 
popular jests; conceived ingeniously, no bit murder- 
ously, even htimanely, if Englishmen are to be allowed 
indulgence of a jolly hit back for an injury — ^more a 



482 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

feint than a real stroke — gave the miserly veteran his 
final quake and cut Chillon's knot. 

Lord Levellier dead of the joke detracted from the 
funny idea there had been in the anticipation' of his hear- 
ing the libertine explosion of his grand new powder, and 
coming out cloaked to see what walls remained upright. 
Its cleverness, however, was magnified by the shades 
into which it had despatched him. The man who started 
the 'rouse for old Griphard' was named: nor did he 
shuffle his honours off. Chillon accused him, and he 
regretfully grinned; he would have owned to it elo- 
quently, excited by the extreme ingenuity, but humour 
at the criminal bar is an abject thing, that has to borrow 
from metaphysics for the expository words. He lacked 
them entirely, and as he could not, fronting his master, 
supply the defect with oaths, he drew up and let out on 
the dead old lord, who wanted a few pounds of blasting 
powder, like anything else in everybody's way. Chillon 
expected the lowest of his countrymen to show some 
degree of chivalry upon occasions like the present. He 
was too young to perceive how it is, that a block of our 
speech in the needed direction drives it storming in 
another, not the one closely expressing us. Carinthia 
liked the man; she was grieved to hear of his having 
got the sack summarily, when he might have had a further 
month of service or a month's pay. Had not the work- 
men's forbearance been much tried? And they had 
not stolen, they had bought the powder, only intending 
to startle. 

She touched her brother's native sense of fairness and 
vexed him with his cowardly devil of impatience, which 
kicked at a simply stupid common man, and behaved to 
a lordly offender, smelling rascal, civilly. Just as her 
father would have treated the matter, she said: 'Are 
we sorry for what has happened, Chillon?' The man 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 483 

had gone, the injustice was done; the master was left to 
reflect on the part played by his inheritance of the half 
share of ninety thousand pounds in his proper respect 
for Lord Levellier's memory. Harsh to an inferior is a 
horrible charge. But the position of debtor to a titled 
cur brings a worse for endurance. Knowing a part of 
Lord Fleetwood's message to Lord Levellier suppressed, 
the bride's brother, her chief guardian, had treated the 
omission as of no importance, and had all the while 
understood that he ought to give her his full guess at 
the reading of it: or so his racked mind understood it 
now. His old father had said: A dumb tongue can he 
a heavy liar ; and, Lies are usurers' coin we pay for ten 
thousand per cent. His harshness in the past hour 
to a workman who had suffered with him and had 
not intended serious mischief was Chillon's unsounded 
motive for the resolution to be out of debt to the man 
he loathed. There is a Muse that smiles aloft surveying 
our acts from the well-springs. 

Carinthia heard her brother's fuller version of the 
earl's communication to her uncle before the wUd day 
of her marriage. ' Not particularly fitted for the married 
state,' Chillon phrased it, saying: 'He seems to have 
known himself, he was honest so far.' She was advised 
to think it over, that the man was her husband. 

She had her brother's heart in her breast, she could 
not misread him. She thought it over, and felt a slight 
drag of compassion for the reluctant bridegroom. That 
was a stretch long leagues distant from love with her; 
the sort of feeling one has for strange animals hurt : 
and she had in her childish blindness done him a hurt, 
and he had bitten her. He was a weak young noble- 
man ; he had wealth for a likeness of strength ; he had 
no glory about his head. Why had he not chosen a 
woman to sit beside him who would have fancied his 



484 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

coronet a glory and his luxury a kindness? But the 
poor young nobleman did not choose! The sadly 
comic of his keeping to the pledge of his word — his 
real wife — the tyrant of the tyrant — clothed him; the 
vision of him at the altar, and on the coach, and at the 
Royal Sovereign Inn, and into the dimness where a 
placidly smiling recollection met a curtain and lost the 
smile. 

Suppose that her duty condemned her to stay in 
England on guard over Chillon's treasure ! The per- 
petual struggle with a weak young nobleman of aimless 
tempers and rightabout changes, pretending to the part 
of husband, would, she foresaw, raise another figure of 
duty, enchaining a weak young woman. The world 
supported his pretension; and her passion to serve as 
Chillon's con^rade sank at a damping because it was 
flame. Ghillon had done that; Lady Arpington, to 
some extent; Henrietta more. A little incident, point- 
ing in no direction, had left a shadow of a cloud, conse- 
quent upon Lady Arpington's mention of Henrietta's 
unprotectedness. Stepping up the hill to meet her 
sister, on the morning of Henrietta's departure for 
London under the convoy of Mr. Wythan, Carinthia's 
long sight spied Kit Ines, or a man like him, in the 
meadow between Lekkatts and Croridge. He stood 
before Henrietta, and vanished light-legged at a gesture. 
Henrietta was descending to take her leave of her 
busied husband; her cheeks were flushed; she would 
not speak of the fellow, except to reply, 'oh, a beggar,' 
and kept asking whether she ought not to stay at Stone- 
. ridge. And if she did she would lose the last of the 
Opera in London ! How could she help to investigate 
the cause of an explosion so considerate to them? She 
sang snatches of melodies, clung to her husband, pro- 
tested her inability to leave him, and went, appearing 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 485 

torn away. As well bid healthy children lie abed on a 
bright summer morning, as think of holding this fair 
young woman bound to the circle of safety when she 
has her view of pleasure sparkling like the shore-sea 
mermaid's mirror. 

Suspicions were not of the brood Carinthia's bosom 
harboured. Suspicion of Chillon's wife Carinthia could 
not feel. An uncaptained vessel in the winds on high 
seas was imagined without a picturing of it. The ap- 
parition of Ines, if it was he, would not fit with any 
conjecture. She sent a warning to Madge, and at the 
same time named the girl's wedding day for her ; pained 
in doing it. She had given the dear girl her word that 
she would be present at this of all marriages. But a 
day or two days or more would have to be spent away 
from ChUlon ; and her hunger for every hour beside her 
brother confessed to the war going on within her, as to 
which was her holier duty, the one on the line of her 
inclinations, or that one pointing to luxury — choice 
between a battle-horse and a cushioned-chair ; between 
companionship with her glorious brother facing death, 
and submission to a weak young nobleman claiming his 
husband's rights over her. She had submitted, had 
forgotten his icy strangeness, had thought him love; 
and hers was a breast for love, it was owned by the 
sobbing rise of her breast at the thought. And she 
might submit again — in honour? scorning the husband? 
Chillon scorned him. Yet Chillon left the decision to 
her, specified his excuses. And Henrietta and Owain, 
Lady Arpington, Gower Woodseer, all the world — 
Carinthia shuddered at the world's blank eye on what 
it directs for the acquiescence of the woman. That 
shred of herself she would become, she felt herself be- 
coming it when the view of her career beside her brother 
waned. The dead Rebecca living in her heart was the 



486 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

only soul among her friends whose voice was her own 
against the world's. 

But there came a turn where she and Rebecca separated. 
Rebecca's insurgent wishes taking shape of prophecy, 
robbed her of her friend Owain, to present her an im- 
possible object, that her mind could not compass or 
figure. She bade Rebecca rest and let her keep the 
fancy of Owain as her good ghost of a sun in the mist 
of a frosty morning; sweeter to her than an image of 
love, though it were the very love, the love of maidens' 
dreams, bursting the bud of romance, issuing its flower. 
Delusive love drove away with a credulous maiden, 
under an English heaven, on a coach and four, from a 
windy hill-top, to a crash below, and a stunned recovery 
in the street of small shops, mud, rain, gloom, language 
like musket-fire and the wailing wounded. 

No regrets, her father had said; they unman the heart 
we want for to-morrow. She kept her look forward at the 
dead wall Chillon had thrown up. He did not reject her 
company; his prospect of it had clouded; and there 
were allusions to Henrietta's loneliness. 'His Carin 
could do her service by staying, if she decided that way.' 
Her enthusiasm dropped to the level of life's common 
ground. With her sustainment gone, she beheld herself a 
titled doll, and had sternly to shut her eyes on the behind 
scenes, bar any shadowy approaches of womanly soft- 
ness; thinking her father's daughter dishonoured in, the 
submissive wife of the weak young nobleman Chillon 
despised as below the title of man. 

Madge and Gower came to Stoneridge on their road 
to London three days before their union. Madge had 
no fear of Ines, but said: 'I never let Mr. Gower out 
of my sight.' Perforce of studying him with the thirsty 
wonder consequent upon his proposal to her, she had 
got fast hold of the skirts of his character; she 'knew 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 487 

lie was happy because he was always making her laugh 
at herself.' Her manner of saying, 'She hoped to give 
him a comfortable home, so that he might never be 
sorry for what he had done,' was toned as in a church, 
beautiful to her mistress. Speaking of my lord's great 
kindness, her eyes yearned for a second and fell humbly. 
She said of Kit Ines, ' He 's found a new " paytron," 
Sarah says Mr. Woodseer tells her, my lady. It 's 
another nobleman, Lord BraUstone, has come into money 
lately and hired him for his pugilist when it 's not horse- 
racing.' Gower spoke of thanks to Lord Fleetwood for the 
independence allowing him to take a wife and settle to 
work in his little Surrey home. He, too, showed he could 
have said more and was advised not to push at a shut gate. 
My lord would attend their wedding as well as my lady, 
Carinthia heard from Madge; counting it a pity that 
wealthy noblemen had no professions to hinder the doing 
of unprofitable things. 

Her sensibility was warmer on the wedding-day of 
these two dear ones. He graced the scene, she admitted, 
when reassured by his perfect reserve toward her per- 
sonally. He was the born nobleman in his friendliness 
with the bridal pair and respectfulness to Mr. Woodseer. 
High social breeding is an exquisite performance on the 
instrument we are, and his behaviour to her left her 
mind at liberty for appreciation of it. Condescension 
was not seen, his voice had no false note. During the 
ceremony his eyelids blinked rapidly. At the close, he 
congratulated the united couple, praising them each for 
the wisdom of their choice. He said to his countess : 
'This is one of the hopeful marriages; chiefly of your 
making.' 
She replied : ' My prayers will be for them always.' 
'They are fortunate who have your prayers,' he said, 
and turned to Sarah Winch. She was to let him know 



488 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

when she also had found her 'great philosopher.' Sarah 
was like a fish on a bank, taking gasps at the marvel of 
it all; she blushed the pale pink of her complexion, and 
murmured of 'happiness.' Gower had gone headlong 
into happiness, where philosophers are smirkers and 
mouthers of ordinary stuff. His brightest remark was 
to put the question to his father: 'The three good 
things of the Isle of Britain?' and treble the name of 
Madge Woodseer for a richer triad than the Glamorgan 
man could summon. Pardonably foolish; but mindful 
of a past condition of indiscipline, Nature's philosopher 
said to the old minister : ' Your example saved me for 
this day at a turn of my road, sir.' Nature's poor wild 
scholar paid that tribute to the regimental sectarian. 
Enough for proud philosophy to have done the thing 
demonstrably right, Gower's look at his Madge and the 
world said. That 'European rose of the coal-black 
order,' as one of his numerous pictures of her painted 
the girl, was a torch in a cavern for dusky redness at her 
cheeks. Her responses beneath the book Mr. Woodseer 
held open had flashed a distant scene through Lord 
Fleetwood. Quaint to notice was her reverence for the 
husband she set on a towering monument, and her 
friendly, wifely, whispered jogs at the unpractical crea- 
ture's forgetfulness of his wraps, his books, his writing- 
desk — on this tremendous occasion, his pipe. Again 
the earl could have sworn, that despite her antecedents, 
she brought her husband honest dower, as surely as she 
gave the lucky Pagan a whole heart ; and had a remark- 
ably fine bust to house the organ, too; and a clarionet 
of a voice, curiously like her mistress's. And not a bad 
fellow, but a heathen dog, a worshipper of Nature, 
walked off with the girl, whose voice had the ring 
of Carinthia's. The Powers do not explain their 
dispensations. 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 489 

These two now one by united good-will for the junc- 
tion Lord Fleetwood himself drove through London to 
the hills, where another carriage awaited them by his 
orders, in the town of London's race-course. As soon 
as they were seated he nodded to them curtly from his 
box, and drove back, leaving them puzzled. But his 
countess had not so very coldly seen him start his horses 
to convey the modest bridal pair. His impulses to 
kindness could be politic. Before quitting White- 
chapel, she went with Sarah to look at the old shop 
of the fruits and vegetables. They found it shut, un- 
tenanted; Mr. Woodseer told them that the earl was 
owner of it by recent purchase, and would not lease it. 
He had to say why; for the countess was dull to the 
notion of a sentimental desecration in the occupying 
of her bedchamber by poor tradespeople. She was 
little flattered. The great nobleman of her imagination 
when she lay there dwindled to a whimsy infant, despot 
of his nursery, capricious with his toys ; likely to damage 
himself, if left to himself. 

How it might occur, she heard hourly from her 
hostess. Lady Arpington; from Henrietta as well, in 
different terms. He seemed to her no longer the stationed 
nobleman, but one of other idle men, and the saddest 
of young men. His weakness cast a net on her. Worse 
than that drag of compassion, she foresaw the chance 
of his having experience of her own weakness, if she was 
to be one among idle women : she might drop to the love 
of him again. ChUlon's damping of her enthusiasm sank 
her to a mere breathing body, miserably an animal body, 
no comrade for a valiant brother ; this young man's feeble 
consort, perhaps : and a creature thirsting for pleasure, 
disposed to sigh in the prospect of caresses. Enthusiasm 
gone, her spirited imagination of active work on the field 
of danger beside her brother flapped a broken wing. 



490 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

She fell too low in her esteem to charge it upon Hen- 
rietta that she stood hesitating, leaning on the hated side 
of the debate; though she could almost have blamed 
Chillon for refusing her his positive counsel, and not 
ordering his wife to follow him. Once Lady Arpington, 
reasoning with her on behalf of the husband who sought 
reconciliation, sneered at her brother's project, con- 
demned it the more for his resolve to carry it out now 
that he had means. The front of a shower sprang to 
Carinthia's eyelids. Now that her brother had means, 
he from whom she might be divided was alert to keep his 
engagement and study war on the field, as his father had 
done in foreign service, offering England a trained soldier, 
should his country subsequently need him. The contrast 
of her heroic brother and a luxurious idle lord scattering 
blood of bird or stag, and despising the soldier's pro- 
fession, had a singular bitter effect, consequent on her 
scorn of words to defend the man her heart idolized. 
This last of young women for weeping wept in the lady's 
presence. 

The feminine trick was pardoned to her because her 
unaccustomed betrayal of that form of enervation was 
desired. It was read as woman's act of self-pity over 
her perplexity : which is a melting act with the woman 
when there is no man to be dissolved by it. So far 
Lady Arpington judged rightly; Carinthia's tears, 
shed at the thought of her brother under the world's 
false judgement of him, left her spiritless to resist her 
husband's advocates. Unusual as they were, almost 
unknown, they were thunder-drops and shook her. 

All for the vivid surface, the Dame frets at stresses 
laid on undercurrents. There is no bridling her unless 
the tale be here told of how Lord Brailstone in his frenzy 
of the disconcerted rival boasted over town the counter- 
stroke he had dealt Lord Fleetwood, by sending Mrs. 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 491 

Levellier a statement of the latter nobleman's base 
plot to thwart her husband's wager, with his foul agent, 
the repentant and well-paid ruffian in person, to verify 
every written word. The town's conception of the neces- 
sity for the reunion of the earl and countess was too, 
intense to let exciting scandal prosper. Moreover, the 
town's bright anticipation of its concluding festivity on 
the domain of Calesford argued such tattle down to a 
baffled adorer's malice. The Countess of Cressett, 
having her cousin, the beautiful Mrs. Kirby-Levellier, 
in her house, has denied Lord Brailstone admission at 
her door, we can affirm. He has written to her vehe- 
mently, has called a second time, has vowed publicly 
that Mrs. Levellier shall have her warning against Lord 
Fleetwood. The madness of jealousy was exhibited. 
Lady Arpington pronounced him in his conduct un- 
worthy the name of gentleman. And how foolish the 
scandal he circulates ! Lord Fleetwood's one aim is to 
persuade his offended wife to take her place beside him. 
He expresses regret everywhere, that the death of her 
uncle Lord Levellier withholds her presence from Cales- 
ford during her term of mourning ; and that he has given 
his word for the f6te on a particular day, before London 
runs quite dry. His pledge of his word is notoriously 
inviolate. The Countess of Cressett — an extraordinary 
instance of a thrice married woman corrected in her 
addiction to play by her alliance with a rakish juvenile 
— declares she performs the part of hostess at the re- 
quest of the Countess of Fleetwood. Perfectly convinc- 
ing. The more so (if you have the gossips' keen scent 
of a deduction) since Lord Fleetwood and young Lord 
Cressett and the Jesuit Lord Feltre have been seen con- 
fabulating with very sacerdotal countenances indeed. 
Three English noblemen! not counting eighty years 
fgr the whole three! And dear Lady Cressett fears 



492 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

she may be called on to rescue her boy-husband from a 
worse enemy than the green tables, if Lady Fleetwood 
should unhappily prove unyielding, as it shames the 
gentle sex to imagine she will be. In fact, we know 
through Mrs. Levellier, the meeting of reconciliation 
between the earl and the countess comes off at Lady 
Arpington's, by her express arrangement, to-morrow : 
'none too soon,' the expectant world of London de- 
clared it. 

The meeting came to pass three days before the great 
day at Calesford. Carinthia and her lord were alone 
together. This had been his burning wish at Croridge, 
where he could have poured his heart to her and might 
have moved the wife's. But she had formed her estimate 
of him there: she had, in the comparison or clash of 
forces with him, grown to contemplate the young man 
of wealth and rank, who had once been impatient of an 
allusion to her father, and sought now to part her from 
her brother — stop her breathing of fresh air. Sensa- 
tionally, too, her ardour for the exercise of her inherited 
gifts attributed it to him that her father's daughter had 
lived the mean existence in England, pursuing a husband, 
hounded by a mother's terrors. The influences environing 
her and pressing her to submission sharpened her perusal 
of the small object largely endowed by circumstances 
to demand it. She . stood calmly discoursing, with a 
tempered smile : no longer a novice in the social manner. 
An equal whom he had injured waited for his remarks, 
gave ready replies ; and he, bowing to the visible equality, 
chafed at a sense of inferiority following his acknowl- 
edgement of it. He was alone with her, and next to 
dumb ; she froze a full heart. As for his heart, it could 
not speak at all, it was a swinging lump. The rational 
view of the situation was exposed to her; and she 
listened to that favourably, or at least attentively; but 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 493 

with an edge to her civil smile when he hinted of enter- 
tainments, voyages, travels, an excursion to her native 
mountain land. Her brother would then be facing death. 
The rational view, she admitted, was one to be considered. 
Yes, they were married; they had a son; they were 
bound to sink misunderstandings, in the interests of their 
little son. He ventured to say that the chUd was a link 
uniting them; and she looked at him. He blinked 
rapidly, as she had seen him do of late, but kept his eyes 
on her through the nervous flutter of the lids ; his pride 
making a determined stand for physical mastery, though 
her look was but a look. Had there been reproach in it, 
he would have found the voice to speak out. Her look 
was a cold sky above a hungering man. She froze his 
heart from the marble of her own. 

And because she was for adventuring with her brother 
at bloody work of civil war in the pay of a foreign 
government ! — he found a short refuge in that mute 
sneer, and was hurled from it by an apparition of the 
Welsh scene of the bitten infant, and Carinthia volun- 
teering to do the bloody work which would have saved 
it; which he had contested, ridiculed. Right then, her 
insanity now conjured the wretched figure of him oppos- 
ing the martyr her splendid humaneness had offered her 
to be, and dominated his reason, subjected him to ad- 
mire — on to worship of the woman, whatever she might 
do. Just such a feeling for a woman he had dreamed 
of in his younger time, doubting that he would ever meet 
the fleshly woman to impose it. His heart broke the frost 
she breathed. Yet, if he gave way to the run of speech, 
he knew himself unmanned, and the fatal habit of superi- 
ority stopped his tongue after he had uttered the name 
he loved to speak, as nearest to the embrace of her. 

'Carinthia — so I think, as I said, we both see the 
common sense of the position. I regret over and over 



494 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

again — we '11 discuss all that when we meet after this 
Calesford affair. I shall have things to say. You will 
overlook, I am sure — well, men are men! — or try to. 
Perhaps I 'm not worse than — we '11 say, some. You 
will, I know, — I have learnt it, — be of great service, help 
to me; double my value, I believe; more than double 
it. You will receive me — ^here? Or at Croridge or 
Esslemont ; and alone together, as now, I beg.' 

That was what he said. Having said it, his escape 
from high tragics in the comfortable worldly tone re- 
joiced him; to some extent also the courteous audience 
she gave him. And her hand was not refused. Judging 
by her aspect, the plain common-sense ground of their 
situation was accepted for the best opening step to their 
union; though she must have had her feelings beneath 
it, and God knew that he had ! Her hand was friendly. 
He could have thanked her for yielding her hand without 
a stage scene; she had fine breeding by nature. The 
gracefullest of trained ladies could not have passed 
through such an interview so perfectly in the right key; 
and this was the woman he had seen at the wrestle with 
hideous death to save a muddy street-child ! She touched 
the gentleman in him. Hard as it was while he held the 
hand of the wife, his little son's mother, who might be 
called his bride, and drew him by the contact of their 
blood to a memory, seeming impossible, some other 
world's attested reality, — she the angel, he the demon of 
it, — unimaginable, yet present, palpable, a fact beyond 
his mind, he let her hand fall scarce pressed. Did she 
expect more than the common sense of it to be said? 
The 'more' was due to her, and should partly be said 
at their next meeting for the no further separating; 
or else he would vow in his heart to spread it out over a 
whole life's course of wakeful devotion, with here and 
there a hint of his younger black nature. Better that — 



UNDERCURRENTS AND SURFACE FLASHES 495 

except for a desire seizing him to make sacrifice of the 
demon he had been, offer him up hideously naked to her 
mercy. But it was a thing to be done by hints, by fits, 
by small doses. She could only gradually be brought to 
the comprehension of how the man or demon found in- 
demnification under his yoke of marriage in snatching 
her, to torment, perhaps betray; and solace for the 
hurt to his pride in spreading a snare for the beautiful 
Henrietta. A confession ! It could be to none but the 
priest. 

Knowledge of Carinthia would have urged him to the 
confession straightway. In spite of horror, the task of 
helping to wash a black soul white would have been 
her compensation for loss of companionship with her 
soldier brother. She would have held hot iron to 
the rabid wound and come to a love of the rescued 
sufferer. 

It seemed to please her when he spoke of Mr. Rose 
Mackrell's applications to get back his volume of her 
father's Book of Maxims. 

'There is mine,' she said. 

For the sake of winning her quick gleam at any word 
of the bridal couple, he conjured a picture of her Madge 
and his Gower, saying: 'That marriage — as you will 
learn — ^proves him honest from head to foot; as she is, 
in her way, too.' 

'Oh, she is,' was the answer. 

'We shall be driving down to them very soon, 
Carinthia.' 

'It will delight them to see either of us, my lord.' 

'My lady, adieu until I am over with this Calesford,' 
he gestured, as in fetters. 

She spared him the my lording as she said adieu, 
sensitive as she was, and to his perception now. 

Lady Arpington had a satisfactory two minutes with 



496 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

him before he left the house. London town, on the 
great day at Calesford, interchanged communications, 
to the comforting effect, that the Countess of Fleetwood 
would reign over the next entertainment. 



CHAPTER XLVII 
THE last: with a concluding woed by the 

DAME 

It is of seemingly good augury for the cause of a suppliant 
man, however little for the man himself, when she who 
has much to pardon can depict him in a manner that 
almost smiles, not unlike a dandling nurse the miniature 
man-child sobbing off to sleep after a frenzy ; an example 
of a genus framed for excuses, and he more than others. 
Chillon was amused up to inquisitive surprise by Carin- 
thia's novel idea of her formerly dreaded riddle of a 
husband. As she sketched the very rational alliance 
proposed to her, and his kick at the fetters of Calesford, 
a shadowy dash for an image of the solicitous tyrant 
was added perforce to complete the scene; following 
which, her head moved sharply, the subject was flung 
over her shoulder. 

She was developing; she might hold her ground 
with the husband, if the alliance should be resumed; 
and she would be a companion for Henrietta in Eng- 
land: she was now independent, as to money, and she 
could break an intolerable yoke without suffering priva- 
tion. He kept his wrath under, determined not to use 
his influence either way, sure though he was of her old 
father's voting for her to quit the man and enter the 
field where qualities would be serviceable. The man 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 497 

probably feared a scandal more than the loss of his wife 
in her going. He had never been thrashed — the sole 
apology ChUlon discovered for him, in a flushed review 
of the unavenged list of injuries Carinthia had sustained. 
His wise old father insisted on the value of an early 
thrashing to trim and shape the growth of most young 
men. There was no proof of Lord Fleetwood's having 
schemed to thwart his wager, so he put that accusation 
by : thinking for an instant, that if the man desired to 
have his wife with him, and she left the country with 
her brother, his own act would recoil; or if she stayed 
to hear of a villany, Carinthia's show of scorn could lash. 
Henrietta praised my lord's kindness. He had been one 
of the adorers — as what man would not be ! — and upon 
her at least (he could hardly love her husband) he had 
not wreaked his disappointment. A young man of huge 
wealth, having nothing to do but fatten his whims, is 
the monster a rich covmtry breeds under the blessing of 
peace. His wife, if a match for him, has her work traced 
out: — mean work for the child of their father, Chillon 
thought. She might be doing braver, more suitable to 
the blood in her veins. But women have to be con- 
sidered as women, not as possible heroines; and sup- 
posing she held her own with this husband of hers, which 
meant, judging by the view of their unfolded characters 
at present, a certain command of the freakish beast ; she, 
whatever her task, would not be the one set trotting. 
He came to his opinion through the estimate he had 
recently formed of Lord Fleetwood, and a study of his 
changed sister. 

Her brows gloomed at a recurrence to that subject. 
Their business of the expedition absorbed her, each 
detail, all the remarks he quoted of his chief, hopeful 
or weariful; for difficulties with the Spanish Govern- 
ment, and with the English too, started up at every 



498 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

turn; and the rank and file of the contingent were 
mostly a rough lot, where they were rather better than 
soaked weeds. A small body of trained soldiers had 
sprung to the call to arms; here and there an officer 
could wheel a regiment. 

Carinthia breasted discouragement. 'Father said the 
English learn from blows, Ghillon.' 

'He might have added, they lose half their number 
by having to learn from blows, Carin.' 

'He said, "Let me lead Britons !" ' 

'When the canteen 's fifty leagues to the rear, yes !' 

'Yes, it is a wine country,' she sighed. 'But would 
the Spaniards have sent for us if their experience had 
told them they could not trust us ? ' 

Chillon brightened rigorously : ' Yes, yes ; there 's 
just a something about our men at their best, hard to 
find elsewhere. We 're right in thinking that. And our 
chief 's the right man.' 

'He is Owain's friend and countryman,' said Carin- 
thia, and pleased her brother for talking like a girl, 
in the midst of methodical calculations of the cost of 
this and that, to purchase the supplies he would need. 
She had an organizing head. On her way down from 
London she had drawn on instructions from a London 
physician of old Peninsula experience to pencil a list 
of the medical and surgical stores required by a cam- 
paigning army; she had gained information of the 
London shops where they were to be procured ; she had 
learned to read medical prescriptions for the composition 
of drugs. She was at her Spanish still, not behind him 
in the ordinary dialogue, and able to correct him on 
points of Spanish history relating to fortresses, especially 
the Basque. A French bookseller had supplied her with 
the Vicomte d'Eschargue's recently published volume of 
a Travels in Catalonia. Chillon saw paragraphs marked, 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 499 

pages dog-eared, for reference. At the same time, the 
question of Henrietta touched her anxiously. Lady 
Arpington's hints had sunk into them both. 

'I have thought of St. Jean de Luz, Chillon, if Riette 
would consent to settle there. French people are friendly. 
You expect most of your work in and round the Spanish 
Pyrenees.' 

'Riette alone there?' said he, and drew her by her 
love of him into his altered mind ; for he did not object 
to his wife's loneliness at Cadiz when their plan was new. 

London had taught her that a young woman in the 
giddy heyday of her beauty has to be guarded; her 
belonging to us is the proud burden involving sacrifices. 
But at St. Jean de Luz, if Riette would consent to reside 
there, Lord Fleetwood's absence and the neighbour- 
hood of the war were reckoned on to preserve his yoke- 
fellow from any fit of the abominated softness which 
she had felt in one premonitory tremor during their 
late interview, and deemed it vile compared with the 
life of action and service beside, almost beside, her 
brother, sharing his dangers at least. She would have 
had Chillon speak peremptorily to his wife regarding 
the residence on the Spanish borders, adding, in a de- 
spair : 'And me with her to protect her !' 

'Unfair to Riette, if she can't decide voluntarily,' he 
said. 

All he refrained from was, the persuading her to stay 
in England and live reconciled with the gaoler of the 
dungeon, as her feelings pictured it. 

Chillon and Carinthia journeyed to London for pur- 
chases and a visit to lawyer, banker, and tradesmen, 
on their way to meet his chief and Owain Wythan at 
Southampton. They lunched with Livia. The morrow 
was the great Calesford day; Henrietta carolled of it. 
Lady Arpington had been afSictingly demure on the 



500 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

theme of her presence at Calesford within her term of 
mourning. ' But I don't mourn, and I 'm not related 
to the defunct, and I can't be denied the pleasure invented 
for my personal gratification,' Henrietta's happy flip- 
pancy pouted at the prudish objections. Moreover, 
the adored Columelli was to be her slave of song. The 
termination of the London season had been postponed 
a whole week for Calesford : the utmost possible strain ; 
and her presence was understood to represent the Countess 
of Fleetwood, temporarily in decorous retirement. 
Chillon was assured by her that the earl had expressed 
himself satisfied with his wife's reasonableness. 'The 
rest will follow.' Pleading on the earl's behalf was 
a vain effort, but she had her grounds for painting 
Lord Fleetwood's present mood to his countess in 
warm colours. 'Nothing short of devotion, Chillon!' 
London's extreme anxiety to see them united, and the 
cause of it, the immense good Janey could do to her 
country, should certainly be considered by her, Henrietta 
said. She spoke feverishly. A mention of St. Jean de 
Luz for a residence inflicted, it appeared, a more violent 
toothache than she had suffered from the proposal of 
quarters in Cadiz. And now her husband had money? 
. . . she suggested his reinstatement in the English 
army. Chillon hushed that: his chief had his word. 
Besides, he wanted schooling in war. Why had he 
married ! His love for her was the answer ; and her 
beauty argued for the love. But possessing her, he was 
bound to win her a name. So his reasoning ran to an 
accord with his military instincts and ambition. Never- 
theless, the mournful strange fact she recalled, that 
they had never waltzed together since they were made 
one, troubled his countenance in the mirror of hers. 
Instead of the waltz, grief, low worries, dulness, an 
eclipse of her, had been the beautiful creature's portion. 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 501 

It established mighty claims to a young husband's in- 
dulgence. She hummed a few bars of his favourite old 
Viennese waltz, with 'Chillon!' invitingly and reproach- 
fully. His loathing of Lord Fleetwood had to withstand 
an envious jump at the legs iu his vison of her partner 
on the morrow. He said: 'You'll think of some one 
absent.' ^ 

'You really do wish me to go, my darling? It is 
Chillon's wish?' She begged for the words; she had 
them, and then her feverishness abated to a simple 
sparkling composure. 

Carinthia had observed her. She was heart-sick 
under pressure of thoughts the heavier for being form- 
less. They signified in the sum her doom to see her 
brother leave England for the war, and herseK crumble 
to pieces from the imagined figure of herself beside 
him on or near the field. They could not be phrased, 
for they accused the beloved brother of a weakness 
in the excessive sense of obligation to the beautiful 
woman who had wedded him. Driving down to South- 
ampton by the night-coach, her tenderness toward 
Henrietta held other thoughts unshaped, except one, 
that moved in its twilight, murmuring of how the love 
of pleasxire keeps us blind children. And how the inno- 
cents are pushed by it to snap at wicked bait, which the 
wealthy angle with, pointed a charitable index on some 
of our social story. The Coimtess Livia, not an inno- 
cent like Henrietta, had escaped the poisoned tongues 
by contracting a third marriage — 'in time!' Lady 
Arpington said ; and the knotty question was presented 
to a young mind: Why are the innocents tempted to 
their ruin, and the darker natures allowed an escape? 
Any street-boy could have told her of the virtue in 
quick wits. But her imexercised reflectiveness was on 
the highroad of accepted doctrines, with their chorus 



502 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

of the moans of gossips for supernatural intervention 
to give us justice. She had not learnt that those inno- 
cents, pushed by an excessive love of pleasure, are for 
the term lower in the scale than their wary darker cousins, 
and must come to the diviner light of intelligence through 
suffering. 

However, the result of her meditations was to show 
her she was directed to be Henrietta's guardian. After 
that, she had no thoughts; travelling beside Chillon, 
she was sheer sore feeling, as of a body aching for its 
heart plucked out. The bitterness of the separation to 
come between them prophesied a tragedy. She touched 
his hand. It was warm now. 

During six days of travels from port to port along 
the Southern and Western coasts, she joined in the in- 
spection of the English contingent about to be shipped. 
They and their chief and her brother were plain to 
sight, like sample print of a book's first page, blank 
sheets for the rest of the volume. If she might have 
been one among them, she would have dared the reck- 
less forecast. Her sensations were those of a bird that 
has flown into a room, and beats wings against the ceiling 
and the window-panes. A close, hard sky, a transparent 
prison wall, narrowed her powers, mocked her soul. 
She spoke little ; what she said impressed ChUlon's chief, 
Owain Wythan was glad to tell her. The good friend 
had gone counter to the tide of her breast by showing 
satisfaction with the prospect that she would take her 
rightful place in the world. Her concentrated mind 
regarded the good friend as a phantom of a man, the 
world's echo. His dead Rebecca would have understood 
her passion to be her brother's comrade, her abasement 
in the staying at home to guard his butterfly. Owain 
had never favoured her project; he could not now 
perceive the special dangers Chillon would be exposed to 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 503 

in her separation from him. She had no means of ex- 
plaining what she felt intensely, that dangers, death, 
were nothing to either of them, if they shared the fate 
together. 

Her rejected petition to her husband for ah allow- 
ance of money, on the day in Wales, became the vivid 
memory which brings out motives in its glow. Her 
husband hated her brother; and why? But the answer 
was lighted fierily down another avenue. A true hus- 
band, a lord of wealth, would have rejoiced to help the 
brother of his wife. He was the cause of Chillon's ruin 
and this adventure to restore his fortunes. Could she 
endure a close alliance with the man while her brother's 
life was imperilled? Carinthia rebuked her drowsy 
head for not having seen his reason for refusing at the 
time. 'How long I am before I see anything that does 
not stare in my face!' She was a married woman, 
whose order of mind rendered her singularly subject to 
the holiness of the tie; and she was a weak woman, she 
feared. Already, at intervals, now that action on a 
foreign field of the thunders and lightnings was denied, 
imagination revealed her dissolving to the union with 
her husband, and cried her comment on herself as the 
world's basest of women for submitting to it while 
Chillon's life ran risks; until finally she said: 'Not 
before I have my brother home safe!' an exclamation 
equal to a vow. 

That being settled, some appearance of equanimity 
returned; she talked of the scarlet business as one she 
participated in as a distant spectator. Chillon's chief 
was hurrying the embarkation of his troops; within 
ten days the whole expedition would be afloat. She 
was to post to London for further purchases, he follow- 
ing to take leave of his wife and babe. Curiously, but 
hardly remarked on during the bustle of work, Livia 



504 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

had been the one to send her short account of the 
great day at Calesford; Henrietta, the born corre- 
spondent, pencilling a couple of lines; she was well, 
dreadfully fatigued, rather a fright from a trip of her 
foot and fall over a low wire fence. Her message of love 
thrice underlined the repeated word. 

Henrietta was the last person Carinthia would have 
expected to meet midway on the London road. Her 
name was called from a carriage as she drove up to the 
door of the Winchester hostlery, and in the lady, over 
whose right eye and cheek a covering fold of silk con- 
cealed a bandage, the voice was her sister Riette's. 
With her were two babes and their nursemaids. 

'Chillon is down there — you have left him there?' 
Henrietta greeted her, saw the reply, and stepped out 
of her carriage. 'You shall kiss the children after- 
wards ; come into one of the rooms, Janey.' 

Alone together, before an embrace, she said, in the 
voice of tears hardening to the world's business, 'Chillon 
must not enter London. You see the figure I am. My 
character 's in as bad case up there — thanks to those 
men ! My husband has lost his "golden Riette." When 
you see beneath the bandage! He will have the right 
to put me away. His "beauty of beauties"! I'm 
fit only to dress as a page-boy and run at his heels. My 
hero ! my poor dear ! He thinking I cared for nothing 
but amusement, flattery. Was ever a punishment so 
cruel to the noblest of generous husbands ! Because I 
know he will overlook it, make light of it, never reproach 
his Riette. And the rose he married comes to him 
a shrivelled leaf of a pot-pourri heap. You haven't 
seen me yet. I was their "beautiful woman." I feel 
for my husband most.' 

She took breath. Carinthia pressed her lips on the 
„cheek sensible to a kiss, and Henrietta pursued, in 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 505 

words liker to sobs : ' Anywhere, Cadiz, St. Jean de Luz, 
hospital work either, anywhere my husband likes, any- 
thing ! I want to work, or I '11 sit and rock the children. 
I 'm awake at last. Janey, we 're lambs to vultures with 
those men. I don't pretend I was the perfect fool. I 
thought myself so safe. I let one of them squeeze my 
hand one day, he swears. You know what a passion is ; 
you have it for mountains and battles, I for music. I 
do remember, one morning before sunrise, driving back 
to town out of Windsor, — a dance, the officers of the 
Guards, — and my lord's trumpeter at the back of the 
coach blowing notes to melt a stone, I found a man's 
hand had mine. I remember Lord Fleetwood looking 
over his shoulder and smiling hard and lashing his 
horses. But listen — yes, at Calesford it happened. He 
— oh, hear the name, then ; Chillon must never hear it ; 
— Lord Brailstone was denied the right to step on Lord 
Fleetwood's grounds. The Opera company had finished 
selections from my Pirata. I went out for cool air; 
little Sir Meeson beside me. I had a folded gauze veil 
over my head, tied at the chin in a bow. Some one 
ran up to me — Lord Brailstone. He poured forth their 
poetry. They suppose it the wine for their "beautiful 
woman." I dare say I laughed or told him to go, and he 
began a tirade against Lord Fleetwood. There's no 
mighty difference between one beast of prey and another. 
Let me get away from them all ! Though now ! — they 
would not lift an eyelid. This is my husband's treasure 
returning to him. We have to be burnt to come to our 
senses. Janey — oh ! you do well ! — it was fiendish ; 
old ballads, melodrama plays, I see they were built on 
men's deeds. Janey, I could not believe it, I have to 
believe, it is forced down my throat; — that man, your 
husband, because he could not forgive my choosing 
Chillon, schemed for Chillon's ruin. I could not believe 



506 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

it until I saw in the glass this disfigured wretch he has 
made of me. Livia serves him, she hates him for the 
tyrant he is; she has opened my eyes. And not for 
himself, no, for his revenge on me, for my name to be as 
my face is. He tossed me to his dogs; fair game for 
them ! You do well, Janey ; he is capable of any 
villany. And has been calling at Livia's door twice a 
day, inquiring anxiously; begs the first appointment 
possible. He has no shame; he is accustomed to buy 
men and women ; he thinks his money will buy my 
pardon, give my face a new skin, perhaps. A woman 
swears to you, Janey, by all she holds holy on earth, it 
is not the loss of her beauty — there will be a wrinkled 
patch on the cheek for life, the surgeon says; I am to 
bear a brown spot, like a bruised peach they sell at the 
fruit-shops cheap. Chillon's Riette! I think of that, 
the miserable wife I am for him without the beauty he 
loved so ! I think of myself as guilty, a really guilty 
woman, when I compare my loss with my husband's.' 

'Your accident, dearest Riette — how it happened?' 
Carinthia said, enfolding her. 

'Because, Janey, what have I ever been to Chillon 
but the good-looking thing he was proud of ? It 's gone. 
Oh, the accident. Brailstone had pushed little Corby 
away ; he held my hand, kept imploring, he wanted the 
usual two minutes, and all to warn me against — I 've 
told you; and he saw Lord Fleetwood coming. I got 
my hand free, and stepped back, my head spinning; 
and I fell. That I recollect, and a sight of flames, like 
the end of the world. I fell on one of the oil-lamps 
bordering the grass; my veil lighted; I had fainted; 
those two men saw nothing but one another; and little 
Sir Meeson was no help; young Lord Cressett dashed 
out the flames. They brought me to my senses for a 
second swoon. Livia says I woke moaning to be taken 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 507 

away from that hated Calesford. It was, oh ! never to 
see that husband of yours again. Forgive him, if you 
can. Not I. I carry the mark of him to my grave. I 
have called myself "Skin-deep" ever since, day and 
night — the name I deserve.' 

'We will return to Chillon together, my own,' said 
Carinthia. 'It may not be so bad.' And in the hope 
that her lovely sister exaggerated a defacement leaving 
not much worse than a small scar, her heart threw off 
its load of the recent perplexities, daylight broke through 
her dark wood. Henrietta brought her liberty. How 
far guilty her husband might be, she was absolved from 
considering; sufficiently guilty to release her. Upon 
that conclusion, pity for the awakened Riette shed 
purer tear-drops through the gratitude she could not 
restrain, could hardly conceal, on her sister's behalf 
and her own. Henrietta's prompt despatch to Croridge 
to fetch the babes, her journey down out of a sick-room 
to stop Chillon's visit to London, proved her an awakened 
woman, well paid for the stain on her face, though the 
stain were lasting. Never had she loved Henrietta, 
never shown her so much love, as on the road to the 
deepening colours of the West. Her sisterly warmth sur- 
prised the woeful spotted beauty with a reflection that 
this martial Janey was aftqr all a woman of feeling, one 
whom her husband, if he came to know it and the depth 
of it, the rich sound of it, would mourn in sackcloth to 
have lost. 

And he did, the Dame interposes for the final word, 
he mourned his loss of Carinthia Jane in sackcloth and 
ashes, notwithstanding that he had the world's affec- 
tionate condolences about him to comfort him, by 
reason of his ungovernable countess's misbehaviour once 
more, according to the report, in running away with 
a young officer to take part in a foreign insurrection; 



508 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

and when he was most the idol of his countrymen and 
countrywomen, which it was once his immoderate aim 
to be, he mourned her day and night, knowing her 
spotless, however wild a follower of her father's Maxims 
FOR Men. He believed — some have said his belief was 
not in error — that the woman to aid and make him man 
and be the star in human form to him, was miracu- 
lously revealed on the day of his walk through the 
foreign pine forest, and his proposal to her at the ducal 
ball was an inspiration of his Good Genius, continuing 
to his marriage morn, and then running downwards, 
like an overstrained reel, under the leadership of his 
Bad. From turning to turning of that descent, he saw 
himself advispd to retrieve the fatal steps, at each point 
attempting it just too late; until too late by an hour, 
he reached the seaport where his wife had embarked; 
and her brother, Chillon John, cruelly, it was the common 
opinion, refused him audience. No syllable of the place 
whither she fled abroad was vouchsafed to him; and 
his confessions of sins and repentance of them were 
breathed to empty air. The wealthiest nobleman of 
all England stood on the pier, watching the regiments 
of that doomed expedition mount ship, ready with the 
bribe of the greater part of his possessions for a single 
word to tell him of his wife's destination. Lord Feltre, 
his companion, has done us the service to make his 
emotions known. He describes them, true, as the Papist 
who sees every incident contribute to precipitate sinners 
into the bosom of his Church. But this, we have warrant 
for saying, did not occur before the earl had visited and 
strolled in the woods with his former secretary, Mr. 
Gower Woodseer, of whom so much has been told, and 
he little better than an infidel, declaring his aim to be at 
contentedness in life. Lord Fleetwood might envy for 
a while, he could not be satisfied with Nature. 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 509 

Within six months of Carinthia Jane's disappear- 
ance, people had begun to talk of strange doings at 
Calesford; and some would have it, that it was the 
rehearsal of a play, in which friars were prominent 
characters, for there the frocked gentry were seen 
flitting across the ground. Then the world learnt too 
surely that the dreaded evil had happened, its wealthiest 
nobleman had gone over to the Church of Rome ! — 
carrying all his personal and unentailed estate to squander 
it on images and a dogma. Calesford was attacked by 
the mob ; — one of the notorious riots in our history was 
a result of the Amazing Marriage, and roused the talk 
of it again over Great Britain. When Carinthia Jane, 
after two years of adv6ntures and perils rarely encoun- 
tered by women, returned to these shores, she was, 
they say, most anxious for news of her husband; and 
then, indeed, it has been conjectured, they might have 
been united to walk henceforward as one for life, but 
for the sad fact that the Earl of Fleetwood had two 
months and some days previously abjured his rank, 
his remaining property, and his title, to become, there 
is one report, the Brother Russett of the mountain 
monastery he visited in simple curiosity once with his 
betraying friend. Lord Feltre. Or some say, and so it 
may truly be, it was an amateur monastery established 
by him down among his Welsh mountains, in which he 
served as a simple brother, without any authority over 
the priests or what not he paid to act as his superiors. 
Monk of some sort he would be. He was never the man 
to stop at anything half way. 

Mr. Rose Mackrell, in his Memoirs, was the first who 
revealed to the world, that the Mademoiselle de Levellier 
of the French Count fighting with the Carlists — falsely 
claimed by him as a Frenchwoman — was, in very truth, 
Carinthia Jane, the Countess of Fleetwood, to whom 



510 THE AMAZING MARRIAGE 

Carlists and Legitimists alike were indebted for tender 
care of them on the field and in hospital ; and who rode 
from one camp through the other up to the tent of the 
Pretender to the throne of Spain, bearing her petition 
for her brother's release ; which was granted, in acknowl- 
edgement of her ' renowned humanity to both conflicting 
armies,' as the words translated by Dr. Glossop run. 
Certain it is she brought her wounded brother safe home 
to England, and prisoners in that war usually had short 
shrift. For three years longer she was the Countess of 
Fleetwood, 'widow of a living suicide,' Mr. Rose Mackrell 
describes the state of the Marriage at that period. No 
whisper of divorce did she tolerate. 

Six months after it was proved that Brother Russett 
had perished of his austerities, or his heart, we learn she 
said to the beseeching applicant for her hand, Mr. Owain 
Wythan, with the gift of it, in compassion: 'Rebecca 
could foretell events.' Carinthia Jane had ever been 
ashamed of second marriages, and the union with her 
friend Rebecca's faithful simpleton gave it, one supposes, 
a natural air, for he as little as she had previously known 
the wedded state. She married him, Henrietta has 
written, because of his wooing her with dog's eyes instead 
of words. The once famous beauty carried a wrinkled 
spot on her cheek to her grave ; a saving disfigurement, 
and the mark of changes in the story told you enough 
to make us think it a providential intervention for such 
ends as were in view. 

So much I can say : , the facts related, with some 
regretted omissions, by which my story has so skeleton 
a look, are those that led to the lamentable conclusion. 
But the melancholy, the pathos of it, the heart of all 
England stirred by it, have been — and the panting 
excitement it was to every listener — sacrificed in the 
vain effort to render events as consequent to your under- 



A CONCLUDING WORD BY THE DAME 511 

standing as a piece of logic, through an exposure of 
character ! Character must ever be a mystery, only 
to be explained in some degree by conduct; and that 
is very dependent upon accident: and unless we have 
a perpetual whipping of the tender part of the reader's 
mind, interest in invisible persons must needs flag. For 
it is an infant we address, and the story-teller whose 
art excites an infant to serious attention succeeds best; 
with English people assuredly, I rejoice to think, though 
I have to pray their patience here while that philosophy 
and exposure of character block the course along a road 
inviting to traflSc of the most animated kind. 



THE END 




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